Pronunciation Guide

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Of discouragement, massive sighs, and fear

I should be writing right now.
I haven’t hit par once throughout MarNo. I’m still within a few thousand words, but it’s been a rough month writing-wise.

I’m just feeling discouraged.
I am questioning myself hugely.
Wondering why I can’t just write a fun romance novel, or adventure novel, or…you know…something NOT about trafficking and rape and brutality and war.

Wondering if I’m doing the right thing in not pursuing publishing until I finish the tetralogy.

Wondering if I am avoiding publishing more out of fear rather than a desire to finish all four books first.

…I’ve wondered that for years, actually. If I am honest.

Because every time I say why I’m waiting to publish, something in me flinches. Whispers that it’s an excuse.

Back when I wrote my elf story book one (finished in April 2007), I made up some history for it. As I began writing elf book two, more of the history came out – and I realized that my previous timeline was way off. It was a plot hole – and I HATE plot holes.

I fixed it in my history documents and changed what needed to be changed in book one.

…But if book one had been published…I wouldn’t have been able to change it.

I decided that it would be better to finish the entire trilogy before trying to publish. That way, if anything else had to change, I could tweak all three books accordingly – and eliminate all plot holes and inconsistencies.

It felt reasonable.
Smart somehow – a way to avoid that dreaded pitfall that I so often see readers complain about.

I carried that mindset into this tetralogy.
Now I am questioning if that is even wise at all.

Yes, I am writing the tetralogy as one big story, because that is what it is in my head. But book one is still finished. Edits are coming along. Beta readers are giving feedback. And book two will still be finished before book three is. And three before four.

I could publish book one while still working on the others.

Why does this strike me with such terror?

I’m not talking fear of rejection here. I know I will be rejected, and it will hurt because I want everyone to love what I write and think it’s awesome and powerful. But it’s whatever. I’m sure that somewhere out there, I could find SOMEONE who would want to publish my story. And if not, I’ll hire an editor and do it myself. (Side note: I totally wrote “hire and editor”. …Case in point. Haha!)

No, this is fear of the unknown.
Fear of going down the wrong path.
…Fear of making a mistake.

(…Wait, so I’m exactly the same person with my writing that I am every other moment of my life? Who knew?)

I just want to do what God wants.
I just want to do what’s right for me. Because I am me, not anyone else. And I can’t pretend otherwise.

This is the story I’ve been given.
It’s about human-trafficking, rape, slavery, hatred, forgiveness, redemption, restoration, purpose, and hope.

It just is.

It’s the journey of a girl from victim to victor; of a man from persecutor to champion. (See what I did there? Probably not…but you will get it eventually.)

How their journey is going to look by the time it is done, I have no clue. Not anymore.

But I think it might be time to stop lingering on the shore.
Time to walk upon the waters, wherever he would call me.
Time to step into the great unknown, where feet may fail.
…Maybe my feet need to fail – so that my faith can become a faith that doesn’t.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Forgiveness and reconciliation

…Oh wow. Did NOT intend for it to be a month. (Well, not quite a month, but close enough.)

It’s now…MarNo!! And I am three days behind! Haha!

(I don’t think I wrote it anywhere else, but for this entire year, I’m doing a NaNo every month. That’s 50,000 words, in case you are unaware. Trying to finish the rest of the tetralogy this year. …Kill me please. No, don’t; then I’ll never finish it.)

Anywho, I’m behind. I need 4995 words TODAY just to hit par. Eek. This is not impossible, but it will be a struggle, since I work tonight. I hope to get a bulk of it, at least; and make up the rest of the words over the next few days.

I’ve figured out several things about Fave, and why he is the way he is (regarding my previous post). It’s helping a lot. He may not be as clearly tormented/abused as Des (yes, Des comes from some abuse; which is huge reason why he abuses) – but he is still quite a mess. And becoming more of one the more I figure him out. I love him.

But lately, I feel the story shifting.

It was about forgiveness. I put a huge emphasis on forgiveness. (Specifically on my main girl forgiving Fave.)

But since writing stuff with Des/Eve (you can read about that here and here), I have come to realize this:

My main girl doesn’t actually have much to forgive Fave FOR.

There are some things, yes; and those things are significant, yes. I’m not undermining them at all. His assault was real, her pain was real, and her fear and anger are real. (I mean, as real as fantasy can be, haha!)

But while trusting him will be an issue, the forgiveness it is not as huge as I was thinking.

And while that scares me a bit (I don’t like change, eek), it also kind of opens some doors. If forgiveness is an aspect of the story/their relationship, but not its point (or apex), then…

1. It frees me to write a Des/Eve thing later, which does require immense forgiveness – without it just being a replica of what happens in this tetralogy.

2. It also frees me to focus on the actual relationship forged between Fave/main girl. This way, the focus switches to more of a restorative thing, where I’m able to show exactly how close they become – and I like that. (Side note: This relationship I speak of is not romantic. In case I implied that at all. That word – “relationship” always has a romantic connotation to it in my eyes, so I felt the need to specify.)

3. It means Fave will be in the story more (not just for longer, but present more often). Which is good, because I like him. And he’s sort of the antagonist…so I sort of need him present. Haha!

4. It also brings up more of the deeper issues that Fave/main girl have to sort through regarding each other. Instead of it just being about her forgiving him and him changing, she gets to see HOW he’s changed, and who he truly is. And he – well…I don’t know how to explain it. They are sort of the same, yet opposite; they view each other in similar ways. (Except he doesn’t hate her; seeing her makes him hate himself.) Which is how he is both the antagonist and the hero. …Bottom line, they have to wrestle through the crap that seeing each other again brings up. And that sounds fun.

…End of list. ;)

From the beginning, I wanted to show that forgiveness is a stepping stone to reconciliation. Forgiveness is not meant to be the point; it is the means. So often, in Christianity, the emphasis is on God forgiving us – with less mentioned about the relationship after the forgiveness. God forgives SO THAT there can be a relationship – a relationship where, without forgiveness, there never could have been one. I believe that the ultimate purpose of forgiveness is RECONCILIATION and RESTORATION.

In many cases, I believe it is flat-out wrong to be like, “I forgive you and don’t hate you anymore; but I want nothing to do with you, and I never will.” (Granted, there are times when restoration is impossible or unhealthy for one reason or another, even when forgiveness is present and genuine. I am not talking about those instances. I’m talking about a situation where someone hurts you, they are genuinely repentant, and you “forgive” them – but also sever the relationship because of their offense.)

The situation with Fave/main girl could easily be – and in many peoples’ eyes, should be – one of those things. “I forgive you, and I’m not going to hold it against you, but I want nothing to do with you. You did ____ to me.”

…I’m sorry – that sounds a lot like holding it against someone. And not much like forgiveness at all.

Again, reconciliation/restoration is not always possible or wise. For instance, if Fave was not transformed, not repentant – heck no she should never go anywhere near him. I am not advocating walking back into a dangerous or toxic situation/relationship. If that were the case, she should forgive him, yes; trust him, no; have any type of interaction with him, no.

…But he is transformed, he has repented – so why not? Is it true forgiveness if she says she forgives him – but continues to hold the past against him? I think not.

I believe true forgiveness paves the way to reconciliation and restoration.
Forgiveness, in its truest form, is the path, not the destination.

And apparently, that is where this story is going.
Not really sure how to do that, but…okay.
Here God goes, stealing my story yet again. 
Take it all.