I went to the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference in Dallas, Texas two years ago. During one of the class sessions, the speaker posted a verse that inspires her writing.
2 Corinthians 3:2-3 “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.”(NIV)
I recorded the verse in my notes and didn’t think about the speaker or the speech again until weeks later. Looking for something from conference, I ran across the verse, jotted the words on an index card, filed said-card, and got back to work. I ran across the verse again this past Monday in the front of my verse-mapping journal. Other than knowing that the journal started after conference, I’m not sure when these timeless words made their way inside. But its interesting to look at something like a scripture and remember how words came into your life, how they inspired you then, and how they changed you. And how they change you even now.
It’s been a month of change. The weather from hot to cold. The chicks from baby to pullet. The bees from the calm of cold months to the stinging frenzy of early summer. The novel: from the original idea to the new idea.
I’ve set aside the epic first novel. I’ve had to admit the story idea is bigger than this writer is right now. I’m too new. The idea is too big. An ominous word kept popping up on every other page. Backstory.
I love to read backstory. I love the details. I love the long, unwinding trail of a story. Apparently, my days of listening to stories so old they’re now free have taken their toll on my writing. I want to write backstory. I want to take the reader on a long, slowly unfolding journey and not lose their interest! But there’s a lot to learn before I’m capable of success with such of feats of literary wandering.
While making the decision to move on from novel number one, I spent a few weeks in the trenches of writer’s dread. The what to do loomed large, and I grieved the loss of my first attempt at writing. I love this first story idea. I wanted to bring the story to life. I still do. So, when I’m more experienced or have someone to guide me, my first novel ever will return to my desk.
I never had a chance to worry over what I’d work on next. A new story idea came late at night as I thought about a song I’d listened to. Some songs tell stories without telling you the details. I like to think about the details, the possibilities, and all the what-if’s.
It’s a rare thing for me to sit up in bed, grab my phone, and jot down a few notes for a story idea, but the new story came just that way. At the time, I still wrestled with the idea of setting aside the first novel. I assumed the new idea would be shelved for months while I finished my first work in progress. But a week later, I knew change had come. The change came gently, easily, and without the striving I conjured up while laying down my first novel.
It’s a busy Friday. Other than this quick stop to catch you up on my writing journey and wish you well on yours, I’m off to start the work day early.