Please welcome this week’s guest Stephanie Prichard for The Journey. She answers the question: How have you seen God work in your writing journey?
Riding the Emotional Roller Coaster
When my love of writing became an earnest intent to publish, I had no idea I was mounting a twisting, looping roller coaster. Please note that from my perspective a roller coaster is NOT an instrument of fun and delight. Chugging to a peak is no problem, but the other side of that peak? Uh-uhhhh. Not a matter of fun, but of heart-stopping, sweat-dripping, jaw-clenching horror. Okay, the worst of my writing disappointments weren’t quite that bad, but catch the analogy of plunging emotions and we’re on the same page.
My co-author husband and I boarded the roller coaster when we sent our first “publishable” draft to a manuscript critique service. When the author assigned to critique us left a voice mail praising our novel, I sobbed so hard at her affirmation that I couldn’t even tell my daughter what I was crying about. She thought I was phoning to tell her my cancer had returned!
Chugga, chugga, the roller coaster climbed to its first peak as the manuscript critiquer’s literary agent took us on as clients. “I think we’re going to have a bidding war!” the agent shouted. Wow, were our hearts ever floating as we headed toward this amazing expectation! Within months, however, we plummeted down—rejected, sniffle, by three publishing houses (huh? that happens?). On top of that, our agent died of a heart attack (no connection to the plummet, I assure you).
But, chugga chugga, we attended our first writing conference and met an amazing bunch of fellow Christian writers. But, ouch, they informed us that our novel would never, ever, ever be accepted in omniscient POV. A short nose-dive that time, followed by a major revision of our novel into third person POV.
Back to the next year’s conference and, chugga chugga, we found an interested editor and agent. But no, another plunge to the depths of despair as both of them ended up rejecting us.
So we asked an editor-turned-agent we’d met at the conference if we could pay him to critique our novel. Chugga chugga, his analysis was the best thing we’d done yet. Along with suggested changes in plot and characterization, he recommended we scrap the writing and start over from scratch. Huh? But, but … I was an English major in college and got all A’s on my papers. Surely I could just patch the manuscript, not rewrite the whole thing!
Back to the same conference a third time, and, chugga chugga, we not only found a wonderful agent but also learned about American Christian Fiction Writers. Joining ACFW was a major turning point because we not only acquired critique partners but also started participating in ACFW’s monthly online classes. That was the year we began learning the craft of writing in a new and serious way.
Remember that patched manuscript? We patched it because we didn’t understand half of what the editor-agent said. In ACFW, however, we learned the lingo and received help with needed skills. We gutted our novel and started over from scratch. Same story but now told with new skills.
Whew, we finally got off that horrid roller coaster! It took another three years of learning and hard work before we published our novel, but the emotion driving us was the joy of improving as writers.
Hmmm, was that God’s intent all along?
All Marine Corps reservist Jake Chalmers wants is to give his dying wife a last, romantic cruise to the Philippines. Unable to save her in a mass murder aboard ship, he washes ashore a jungle island, where he discovers three other survivors. Heartbroken that he failed to save his wife, he is determined not to fail these helpless castaways.
Federal prosecutor Eve Eriksson rescues a young girl and her elderly great-aunt from the same ship. They badly need Jake’s survival skills, but why is he so maddeningly careful? She needs to hurry home to nail a significant career trial. And, please, before Jake learns her secret that she’s responsible for his wife’s death.
Stranded: A Novel is available for only $2.99 on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OQGJBUY
Don Prichard is a Viet Nam veteran who served in the Marine Corps Reserves for thirty-two years before retiring as a colonel. He is also a career architect, whose specialty in government work includes the design of prisons, courthouses, and military facilities.
Stephanie is an army brat who lived in many countries around the world and loved it. She met her husband at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where she majored in English/Literature. She and Don have lived in Indianapolis, IN, for forty years, and in retirement have turned to co-authoring novels now that their three children are busy raising a beautiful crop of grandchildren for them.
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