July 5th, 2019
Hmmmm. What to blog about? I’ll start by blogging about the process of going from the germ of an idea to completed manuscript, and later I’ll blog about the publishing process.
I’ve always thought I was a writer, contrary to all evidence, as I never . . . wrote anything, outside of a few creative writing classes. Nevertheless. I started getting a compulsion to write and was planning out how I would organize my life so that I could write, all before I even got the idea that I turned into a book, such that I don’t remember feeling any different about the project before and after I got the idea. I became pregnant with the novel before I knew what it would be about.
The reason why I had a novel bursting inside of me is that I finally had something to say. I’d always wanted to write, but when I was young I would have been parroting back what I’d been taught. When I was older I struggled with my faith, and I remember thinking, if I get through this, I’d like to write a novel. There are many novels about becoming disillusioned. Not as many about becoming disillusioned, and then finding out in the end the original illusion was real all along.
So I had something to say, how I rediscovered my faith, but what would the novel be about. The idea came to me when I was watching a documentary about the Shroud of Turin made by Grizzly Adams Production (yes, that show with the bearded hermit in the 70’s.) I found it quite convincing, even if it was a bit one-sided. I had the thought that it would suck if an enemy of Christianity were to steal or destroy the Shroud before it could be thoroughly tested again. Then I imagined a scenario where the main character was present at a ceremony/press conference where the Shroud was stolen, and started from there.
I read some good advice from one of my favorite authors, Orson Scott Card. He wrote that when a book he’s writing really takes off, it’s not from taking one of his big story ideas and following it to its conclusion. It takes off when he takes one of his big story ideas, and combines it with another big idea in the same story. The fusion adds life. I found that every time I added a big idea, the story became richer, and with much effort I was able to make them all fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.
In my next blog post I’ll write about the horrible first draft and what clicked to make the second draft start to work.