July 6, 2009

A story begins to take shape

Seven months after writing the sad challenge entry, I sensed there was more to Mary Elizabeth's story than what I had already written. The topic for the week was "Actions speak louder than words." I imagined what Mary Elizabeth would be doing months later, and developed the story around her having to face a decision. I titled the story Letters and Promises and submitted it. Here is the link to the entry. The piece placed 13th in the advanced level and 36th overall.

As others read the story, the general theme of the comments centered on this piece being part of a novel. This seemed to be a daunting task. I'm used to writing short stories and articles. Novels are much, much longer. Yet, even with other writing assignments to pursue, I kept coming back to Mary Elizabeth's life. Other characters, such as her brother-in-law, William, her brother, Edward, and his wife, Margaret, began to become real people. I thought maybe I could link the two stories into a short story and submit it somewhere. God had other plans, though.

In April, 2008 I attended a local Christian writers' conference. While there, two important things happened. One, I attended a workshop on novel writing taught by Alison Stobel. She discussed a way of creating a novel known as the "Snowflake Method". More on that in the next post. The second thing was I met Cathy Marie Hake, who writes historical romance novels. I showed her a copy of On the Bridge and asked her opinion of it. She said, "There's a novel here." That was enough motivation for me to explore writing a book.

Over the past two years I've learned that if God has a job for one of us to do, then He will make sure we find a way to accomplish the task. Also, His plans for us are often larger than the dreams we have for ourselves.


Joanne Sher said...

I'm loving reading the "history" of this story. And I REALLY need to look into the Snowflake Method - SO many people have talked about it! (When I finish my NF, of course!)

Dee Yoder said...

Yes, God does have a way of working us into His plan--sometimes it takes us a while to catch on, but He is patient and faithful to help us once we start on His path! Great that you got some encouragement, Seema!