During our meeting at the skydiving place last Thursday, my editor said she would take some of my questions to her boss and let me know what his answers were. Today she was back at work and true to her word, sent me those answers.
The first is that Bethany House has indeed approved the story idea for The Other Side of the Sky! So it’s official and I can now begin working on it in earnest. Not that I wasn’t before, really, just that it’s nice to stop wondering if any day I’m going to get a “Thanks but no thanks” and have to drop it all to come up with another idea. Not that I wondered overmuch, mind you.
I’ve been reading a lot about Jerusalem over the last few days. Why was the Temple destroyed, what happened after that, why is the area called Palestine, what is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre about, etc. Today I went looking for maps. Not that I’m writing about Jerusalem — I’m not — but I find that reading about historical things gives me lots of ideas.
The other day I was trying to go through my five pages of notes on the prologue and kept getting cross-eyed so I decided I’d go through and just write down all the questions the notes I had were generating. I put each question on a small business sized card and ended up with 39 cards. Many of the questions were of the “Should it be A or B?” nature. No wonder I was getting overwhelmed. If I’m trying to follow some kind of simple narrative and with every step have several options… it doesn’t take much before you can’t even hold it all in your head anymore.
Sort of like this. I’m going to write a story about a girl and three bears. Or should it be a boy? And maybe only two bears. Or maybe they should be raccoons. Or deer. If they were deer how would that change the story? What if they were owls? Okay, so she goes into the woods… or do I want it to be a moor? Do bears live in moors? I’d better go look that up. Okay. No, bears don’t live in moors. What about deer? Oh, but I want them to be eating porridge and I don’t think deer eat porridge. Maybe they could be eating salad.
Let’s go back to the bears for now. So she gets to their house and knocks on the door. Would the bears leave their door unlocked? Well, why not? They’re bears. So she knocks and goes in and finds … what? A sofa? A TV? A pile of pine needles? I wish I knew what this story was going to be about…
See? Like that. So now I have a whole stack of cards about stuff that happened in the story maybe 1000 years before the actual events of the story (or should it be 500 years? Or 100 years?) so that I can figure out why things are the way they are in the present story time. Politics, government, people groups, and the actual physical location…
My hope is that once I get these things more or less determined, then maybe I can not only start writing but keep it up for a time.
Seriously, I do hope that. LOL. Oh, and there was one “comment” from BHP and that was their hope that I would try to tell my story in the fewest words possible in the interest of attracting a potentially broader readership. Apparently there are many readers who are scared off by long-looking books. I, on the other hand, pass up on books that are too short. Seriously. I don’t like short books. They’re just too…
I am such a dinosaur. 🙂
Congratulations fellow Karen!!!!!!!
WAY TO GO!!!!
Your method sounds like a great method for any of us to employ.
I’ll try it on this portion I’m still wrestling with.
Love your style and sense of humor too.
(and thx for the BHP comments – and I’m a dinosaur too)
I’m very excited for the green light. I hope and pray that God helps to organize your thoughts, and I know He will. And I love that you’re excited too. And, fyi, you can make the history go back 1000 years, it makes for a much more interesting present. 😀
A young dinosaur,
So exciting! Looking forward to reading it, Karen. I’m also excited to find that I can reply to your posts. For some reason I thought not.
I also just got the go ahead from my publisher for the sequel to my first novel, One Smooth Stone. Release date is next spring. yahoo, here we go… I’ve got a stack of those cards too!
Blessings as you journey.
Thrilled to know it is a “GO”! I have been trying to write some radio ad copy. Bummer! So took a break to read your blog. Laughed myself silly. I can see you sitting there with all those thoughts. Shuffling the cards from one to another, distilling and rearranging. Make it long? Make it short? Use it all. I look forward to the finished product!
I’m so glad to hear you’ve got the green light. I’m so glad there will be another great book to read in the future. But that’s not why I’m writing. You’re dinosaur comment had me laughing so hard I think my kids thought I had lost it. I vote for as long as the story needs, not that my opinion matters to BH.
You aren’t a dinosaur–I’m 20 and I hate short books 🙂
I love a book that goes on for pages and pages. Think The Count of Monte Cristo, or Tale of Two Cities, or Lord of the Rings 🙂
Short books make you feel like you didn’t get your money’s worth out of it. 😉
–can’t wait for your book!
I agree! I hate short books (and I’m only 27!). One of the reasons that I like your books so much (aside from the obvious that you are one of the only Christian writers to craft decent fantasy) is that there IS so much length to them. You need the time and the space to build believable characters and intriguing plot. DO keep in mind: Multiple publishers told J. K. Rowling that no child would read a book that long. Guess she’s laughing all the way to the bank! :o)
Very funny post. And our whole family loves long books, too, as long as they’re really good ones, like yours 🙂 What’s the point of finding a really good book, only to have it be OVER too soon and have to go look for another one already? Write away, we will buy and read 🙂 Blessings on your whole process with the next book.
I don’t like short books either. Just sayin’