The Other Side of the Sky

Well, I think I’ve come to a final decision regarding which book I’m going to pursue in terms of writing a proposal and that’s my original plan, which is to do The Other Side of the Sky. What happened?

Well, I had so many interruptions ever since I had my little emotional surge about characters for The Next Book, as I’d jokingly titled it, that the emotion died away, and the more I thought the blanker I got. Actually I didn’t have time to think much at all. I kept asking the Lord what He wanted me to do, and then there was the leaky pipe, the broken swamp cooler, my glasses breaking, my mother’s many doctor’s appointments — She is getting cataract surgery in a couple of weeks. She also has pain in her leg and back and they wanted to see if it was bone cancer. It’s not. Then a fracture. Apparently not that, either. Now they want to do an MRI. She can’t lift her leg enough to put it on the brake when she drives, so I’ve been taking her places. Which I’m happy to do. It just takes time from the book, which I’m sure is what God wanted all along. Not that it’s all about the book; God’s plans always produce many outworkings.

But in the case of the book, all those interruptions gave me time to simmer things. On Friday I found that all my fire and conviction for the suspense book had left and I asked myself, Did I leave off of Sky prematurely? Without sufficient justification?  All I did was start reading the first page of my rough-draft Prologue, decided it was too complex, had too many “weird” words and went off in search of something easier and maybe more commercially viable. But how can I say was is going to be commercially viable really? I suppose I could do Amish romances since anything Amish is kind of like anything dragon or vampire. They sell like hotcakes. The Amish Dragon…Dragon Among the Amish… A Plain Country Vampire…

I don’t think I could write about the Amish. Or vampires…

Anyway, I suddenly realized that I’d kept a journal of how I’d come to start Sky in in the first place and went looking for it. What I read blew me away.

It was early March in 2001. Arena had just been bought by Bethany House and was due to release in a year and a half. I had my next project to consider, for I knew they’d soon be asking me for my next book. For the previous seven months I’d been working on The Enclave, then called Black Box, having devised it in the event that BHP turned down Arena. As I’ve said elsewhere it was supposed to be a bridge book from where the market was then to Arena.

But then Arena sold and the need for a bridge book vanished. I was talking to my editor at BHP about it all, and he told me to send him what I had on Black Box. I only had half-formed ideas, but he urged me to send it on anyway.

Here’s my entry the day after I sent it:

11 March 2001 Sunday. Late yesterday afternoon I emailed a sort of proposal/synopsis of Black Box to Steve. He rejected it. It took him all of about three minutes. Not what he’s looking for. Not at all like Arena… Not SF… Cliched. The cult idea doesn’t work for him.

I was deeply disappointed. Shocked. I spent today thrashing it out. Should I ignore him and keep at it? Do I just want to try to get a sale or am I truly “creating” here? Was I wrong to send what I sent? Is this just an obstacle, or is it guidance? I wrote seven pages on it. I drew up an outline of the timing.

I felt hurt, betrayed, cranky, depressed. I don’t think I was wrong to send it to him, even knowing it was unformed and unfinished. I was afraid he’d jump to conclusions and reject it without really knowing what it was… but… after concluding that I would proceed on Box business-as-usual unless the Lord showed me otherwise… I now wonder if maybe He IS showing me otherwise. I started thinking of other ideas I could float.. I still have a lot of time to do something before Arena comes out and they’re going to want that second book…

Then I saw a blurb in my Mt. Hermon notes: “BHP lives by their backlist. Very few of their fiction goes out of print. They don’t want it to. They try to build reader loyalty for their authors. It’s important, therefore, not to jump around in genres… ” What is needed now is a bridge to Light of Eidon

I just checked my work output on Box from August through December — only 81 days of actually working —  not quite 3 months. Maybe this is more of guidance than I thought.

From Bible class:  “Endurance is the ability to persist. Even if it means starting over!”

Maybe all the troubles last fall were to keep me from going too far with Box

12 March 2001 Monday.  Wow! It’s like I’ve been set free! The world and concept for a new book came almost at once — borrowed from Box and Arena. Also the title::  The Far Side of the Sky. I’m excited about it. There’s so much more freedom here to do the things I want to do. Gladiator music even fits! Whoo hoo! SF allegory, totally different world. I love it!

Later — 9:30pm … And now I’m feeling reluctant to commit. What if I throw myself into this new one and Steve doesn’t like it, either? But can I devise a proposal or synopsis that would be original and intriguing if I didn’t?  Is it just a matter of faith? Just commit completely as unto the Lord, trusting Him to make the work bear fruit. You do the work for Him, not man’s approval.

Love the Lord with all your heart. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all of your soul/heart/mind/strength. BUT LEAVE THE RESULTS WITH GOD. You say, “But this is not what I consider to be successful!” Well, it’s not what you consider to be successful that’s important, it’s what God does.

Having read all that, I felt strongly that Sky was the direction to go. I got all my notes and chapters and cards out and was overwhelmed by all the material I had. Now I just need to figure out how to get back into it…

0 thoughts on “The Other Side of the Sky

  1. mylittlebub

    A Plain Country Vampire. hahahahahahahahahha!
    Too Funny! It would be a great spoof for someone.

    I’m excited already by the title of TNB.


  2. Gayle

    I suppose I could do Amish romances since anything Amish is kind of like anything dragon or vampire. They sell like hotcakes. The Amish Dragon…Dragon Among the Amish… A Plain Country Vampire…

    I am taking a break. No customers, but plenty of candles to deal with. The new Fall fragrances are here! I got myself a glass of cold water and settled in for a moment of rest, relaxation and renewal. I opened my email to read your blog entry. Thanks, Karen! What a hoot. And no, you never could do the Amish thing. Well, you are more than capable, but???? No, I say to the Amish sweet mish mash. God has other plans for you. He is going to use all that doctrine you have stored in your right lobe to pour out onto the pages of “Sky”. Although, He does have a great sense of humor, maybe there should be some consideration. Hmmhmm…it could be an Amish vampire dragon that is being shunned, lost one ear, cannot fly or blow fire out his nose, and has a thing for the princess Amish dragon. Her father won’t let him [the Amish vampire dragon] court her, because he is a blood sucker. What do you think?

  3. Theresa Ledford

    I was reading your blog today and just burst out laughing. All my kids looked at me like I had totally lost it. So I read them the bit about dragons, vampires and amish. They still looked at me like I was nuts. Then one of them says “I think she was joking Mom. “Yes I know dear”, I responded. Too funny. Then I go to respond and there’s Gail’s plan for the story. You guys are a crack up. You made my day.

    1. karenhancock

      Ooh, so fun to see your name here, Theresa. Yeah, Gayle was too funny with that. It made my day, too. So did the mental image of your children looking at you in bewilderment as you read them those titles!

  4. Patrick Aquilone


    I am so glad to hear that you have direction. Personally, I am glad that it is “Sky” but would have been happy no matter what it was. Well, ok, I am not sure I would have been hip to the idea of love sucking technology deprived vampires, but I probably would have given it a shot … Probably LOL!!!

    As for the obstacles, remember three things.

    1) The enemy is always on the prowl seeking whom he can devour because he is “LIKE” a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). He is like one because Jesus stripped him of his power and all he can do is run around roaring attempt to trick us into being scared.

    2) On the other hand, standing with you ever ready to do battle on your behalf and give you the victory is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5) and he has never ever been defeated. And he also resides within you (1 John 4:4) ready to empower you for whatever task you have for him at hand or obstacle you have from the enemy to overcome.

    3) Remember that God knows about all of this and his word is above all of our situations and when you find yourself in a mix of stuff that seems like the enemy is attacking even if it is just with busyness. For those of us in Christ, the enemy is not allowed to even touch us (1 John 5:18) and you have the right and God given authority (based on the word in 1 John 5:18 and James 4:7) to tell him to “Go to hell” where God sent him and he belongs because he does not belong attack you or your family.

    Oh, and (I guess this is four) if anything the enemy does cost you money, then you can demand that he repays you seven times what he stole from you (Proverbs 6:31).

    Love in Christ,

  5. Anne

    Hey Karen, just wanted to encourage you to keep seeking the Lord’s inspiration for whatever book you work on next. He knows what you need to write, how long it needs to be, etc. and He’ll show you what you need to write. Ask Him to use the most unlikely things to inspire you. I did that and now I’m working on probably the most complex novel I’ve ever written!

    Also, I would steer clear of the Amish vampire thing if I were you. Though it would be a rather entertaining read, I think certain authors might take offense…. 😉


    1. karenhancock

      Thanks, Anne. It really does seem to be Sky. Though the last thing I need right now is any more complexity! I’m looking for ways to consolidate and things to eliminate and I don’t even have a full plot line yet. So… should I just go ahead and flesh out a plotline and then do the consolidating and eliminating? Hmmm.

      1. Anne

        I think that as long as you seek out the level of complexity the Lord wants you to have, everything else will fall into place — length, point-of-view changes, even the plot. I’ll be praying that the foundation laid for this book will be strong and that the Lord will speak to you daily about it. What just came to me is that you need to think of it as His book, not your own. After all, He knows how to write a good Book. 🙂



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