Thursday, January 2, 2014

Going into the New Year...

Yes, I know, it's been far too long since I've posted anything on here.

Here's a little update on what's been going on with my book:

Just in time for the new year I finished my self-edited draft of my book. The title is "I Was There: When the Giant Fell."  I recently sent the first chapter off to my editor to look over and give me some invaluable feedback on content, flow and plot and necessary copy editing. I plan to continue to tinker with some of the chapters that I feel still need some polishing before I send them to her for review. I am so excited to work with her and improve the book so that it is completely ready for publication soon!

I'm also planning to give the chapters to several other close friends and family members to get their feedback as I work to finalize and publish.

It's an extremely exciting time in the process and it feels awesome to be at this point. God-willing I will be publishing this book in 2014! I can't wait to see what God does with it and I pray that it touches the lives of many people!

In the next few months I will be starting my own website and a blog on that to keep people updated on what is going on with my writing and publishing.

While I finalize work on "When the Giant Fell" I will also be starting a new writing project which also takes a little known character in the Bible who was there for some key events in Bible history: one of the sailors on the ship with Jonah. I am looking forward to the research and work that will go into creating another "I was there..." book!

As always, keep me in your prayers as I continue this writing journey one day at a time!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October Update

Did September really go by without an update on here! What? That's crazy.

Well, although I continue to struggle to find high quality time for writing, rewriting and editing, I am making good progress and am excited about how the book is coming together right now. There are still days of writer's block and days, sadly, when I get no work done on the book. That, obviously has to change if I want to reach my goal of a final draft by the end of December!!

My wife is amazing. She does overtime with the kids when I'm home just to give me some quiet, quality time to work. Thanks Cara!

I have also been in contact with several self-publishing companies. I haven't fully decided which company I'll go with. It's a big decision that can have a big impact on the future of my book, so I don't want to rush into anything.

The book itself is coming along well. The rewriting/editing is a little more challenging than I expected, but some of the characters are getting deeper and more interesting as I go along and I've been adding a lot more vividness and action to the writing. I am very excited to finish it and have a final manuscript ready for publishing. I can't wait!

That being said, I'd better get back to work on actually writing!
Thanks for reading! Keep me in your prayers as I keep working on this.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Love and Hate

I'm beginning to have a love/hate relationship with my manuscript. I'm becoming too familiar with parts of much so that I am sick of those parts and they lose their luster and I start second guessing the quality. I am also noticing a lot of flaws in my writing as I go back and edit another section and re-edit it and then revamp it and reevaluate it and edit it again.... The same words that I wrote on Monday I'm enjoying on Tuesday and by Friday I'm completely redoing them again.  I know its all part of what they call the "writing process." As a first-time novelist I'm learning as I go and feeling my way in the dark.
Overall...I still love it though! Seriously. I enjoy writing and bringing characters and scenes to life with just black words on a white page (or screen, for right now!) It's a fun challenge to overcome my shortcomings as a writer and learn more about myself as I work through them. As I look at my book as a whole I am still very excited and confident that the finished product will be great. It has a long ways to go yet. I am also enjoying how God strips away the arrogance through the daily grind. He gives me enough challenges to keep me humble and enough victories to keep me going. As always keep me and the work in your prayers. That's what I always need the most!

As I promised last's a little fruit of my labor. This is Benaiah, the main character speaking:

A noise from within the house stops me, listening, senses on high alert. The strange noise comes again…a muffled scream, a shuffling sound. I run to the door and stop just inside. My eyes are so used to the light that I’m momentarily blinded by the darkness inside. I look in through the courtyard and squint into the darkness beyond.

Piram is on top of my mother, forcing her down onto a stone bench. He has a fistful of her hair and he’s pulling back, stretching her neck in a gross, unnatural position. His mouth is next to her head and he’s hissing violent, hateful words right into her ear. Something snaps inside me. Hatred explodes in my brain and all my senses burn to life with intense heat. My thoughts go blank. I don’t speak. I must end this once and for all! I rush at Piram. My muscles bunch in readiness and I unleash years of pent up fury. My fist connects hard with the side of his head and he reels backwards, off of my mother, down to the dust where he belongs. Hateful worm! How dare he treat her like this! I’ll kill him with my bare hands!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Update

It's been a while since I wrote an update on here. I've been much more interested in writing creatively than writing on my blog and I've been putting the blog writing off. I do need to get on here more!

I am really enjoying editing and rewriting and improving my rough draft chapter by chapter. Every time I get a chapter done I send it to my wife to look over and offer her thoughts and opinions. She gives great advice from a reader's perspective and helps me refine my writing and make it better. Thanks Honey!

I do need to go back and work on the early chapters soon. I will be breaking chapter 1 up into a few shorter chapters since its just too long the way it is now. I also plan to work on the dialogue and the action's pace at several points.  I've redeveloped some of the opening plot as well.
I am still spending the majority of time working on the rough draft itself, cleaning it, enhancing it and improving it one chapter at a time. continues and it's all a lot of fun to do. I am working hard to meet my next goal and enjoying this next phase of writing.

Next time I'll give you another sample of the work!

Blessings to you all!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Next Phase

Well I am happy to report that I did get my rough draft finished and accomplished my goal by the end of June. My rough draft is a bit "rougher" than I had originally wanted it to be at this stage. I will now need to go through almost the entire document changing past tense verbs to present tense, which will be time consuming. There are also some places that need quite a bit of improvement... you can tell I was writing at 4:30 in the morning! I may want to make some additions or explore certain plot lines a little more as well. Even on the last night working on the draft, several new ideas came to me which may add several chapters to the book. I guess that's what happens. It means I still have a lot of work to do, but I am at an exciting place. The whole novel is roughed in and ready for editing, rewriting, enhancing and improving as needed.

My next goal is to have a complete final, polished draft by the end of December 2013. I will be working on about a chapter a week rewriting, editing, rethinking, analyzing and improving each one to meet my goal. I am also allowing some time to get others to read and edit it before I finalize the whole thing.

Check back here as I continue to scribble...hopefully once a week...about my journey.

Now...back at it!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

An update....and a taste of my rough draft...

Well...I need to apologize. It's been forever since I've written a post on here! One reason is that I've been busily trying to reach my goal of a finished rough draft by the end of this month. I'm on track to meet that goal...however I think the draft is going to be a bit rougher than I had originally hoped. There are still many transitions and chapter endings that need to be rewritten or developed....but I guess that's why they call it a rough draft.

I've had many days of frustration as well as moments of victory and joy along the way. My rough draft still has a little ways to go and so I am still feverishly working on it whenever I get the chance.

I've both loved and hated having this goal. I know I need to set goals and reach those goals in order to accomplish a project like this. However I also have chafed under the time constraints. I feel that sometimes it sucks the fun out of the project when I feel the goal pressing down on me and a "deadline" approaching and I'm just rattling off words as fast as I can to fill space. Hmmmm...that's definitely been a struggle for me lately.

I have also decided to write each character in the first person, present tense...which requires some rewriting as well. (They were first person, but not present tense.) I think the present tense is much better for what I'm trying to do and much more vivid and I'm enjoying the change as I write.

Many people have been asking to get a taste of the novel.'s a little snippet from the rough draft I am working on. This is my character's (Benaiah's) mother, Serah, talking as her son leaves to join King Saul's standing army. Any thoughts, suggestions or comments are welcome!

I lean against the doorway my fingers around the door frame my cheek pressed up against the rough wood. I watch my Benaiah, my dear son, walking away. We had just said goodbye. He had packed his things and I had given him some supplies I had prepared for his journey. This is the moment I have dreaded the most. I can still feel his embrace, his warm arms that had been wrapped around me a moment before. His words of tender love still sit soft in my ear as I watch him walking away. How strong! How manly he looks as he goes off on his new adventure. His heart is set on war and my heart writhes in pain. I can’t hold back the flood of tears that well up in my eyes. It is a relief to be alone in this moment. Crying is not something I allow myself to do, especially not around Beriah or the rest of the family. I hate being vulnerable and weak and Beriah does not approve of such emotional displays.  I try so hard to arrange my life so that I do not need anything from anyone—ever! Yet this is breaking through all my resolve. My heart leaves with my son. Without him I am sure that loneliness will break my heart. He doesn’t know how badly I want to hold him back. I want him to stay. I know if I had begged him, he might have listened. There was a chance. Our bond is strong. Stronger than most mothers had with their sons at his age. I might have doused the fire in his eyes. I might have snuffed out his burning enthusiasm and excitement. Then he might have stayed. I could have stirred the conflict of desire and duty that often raged in his mind, but really I know I couldn’t have done that to him. I understand how he aches for this change. I know he needs to go. I won’t stand in his way or hang on clinging like a child to his robe. But watching him go, my ancient wounds tear open fresh. The old pain floods my mind again. He is the son of my woe. Yet I love him so. Unbidden, the memories tear through my mind like jagged flashes of lightning. Terrible, unsettling weakness blows through me like a cold, violent wind. I step back again inside the house and sink to my knees on the dirt, tears streaking down my face…skittering down into the dusty floor, shattering into tiny balls of mud.  I feel my body trembling. The images come again, so fresh and raw and real, as if they happened yesterday instead of years before.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wednesday Fun...

My wife does this Friday Fun thing on her amazing health and wellness blog: Your World Natural every week and it inspired me to do the same. I won't do it every week, but every once in a while I'll include some personal updates on what's going on in my life and things I'm thinking about and doing....just for fun. It's not Friday I guess I could call it "Wednesday Fun" this week...

 Here goes:

In my life this week... (or maybe I should say this month...since it's been so long since I've written!)
Crazy busy at work. I started a new schedule in the beginning of May as I am training under a new guy. I meet him at a parking lot 30 minutes or so from our house, depending on traffic. He has to be at the first jobsite by 7am, which means we meet at 6:15 Am, which means if I want to work on my book in the nice quiet hours of morning I need to get up 4:30 or 5am at the latest. That's been a challenge. Then we've been working past the normal end of shift which is 5 I don't get home until 6, 7, 8pm at night on a normal shift. This has been taking a toll on my writing and my health and our family. Just this week I caught some kind of cold...with a nasty sore throat.
On my day off I tried to dig up our garden and ended up cutting the line to our cable service ...fortunately I was able to patch the line together so we still got internet, phone and TV...the cable guy is coming out today to fix it for us. Always something crazy right?

 I am inspired by...
My wife and my kids. My wife is absolutely amazing. These long shifts have been tough on her and the kids. I hate being away from them for such long stretches of time. It's been affecting her health too as she does an amazing job every day mothering 3 kids, writing on her blog, and teaching fitness classes and personal training at the local fitness center. She's also been dealing with some strange symptoms from stress. Yikes! She's still so amazing and sweet to me despite the crazy schedule.

 My favorite thing this week was...
 Any time I got to spend with my awesome wife and my cute, silly kids.

What's working/not working for me...
Working- switching to the 1st person present tense in my book...its helping revive some of my passion for the project and it is an interesting more vivid way of writing. Previously I was working in the 1st person past tense.

Not working - being away from my family for large chunks of time, only being able to work on my book for an hour or less each morning, getting up early and staying up late is still taking a toll...

Questions/thoughts I have...How do I reach my writing goals with such limited time each day for my writing? When is this schedule going to ease up? How on earth does my wife go through so much stress and still love me like crazy???

Things I'm working on...Still doing a lot of research for my book so that I know the culture, time period and setting thoroughly. Of course...writing every morning and trying to craft interesting, unique and vivid prose. Being a better husband and father...always. Learning as much as I can each day on the job. Trying to deal with this new schedule.

I'm reading...Still plugging away at the second book in the Gods and Kings series, just finished Doctor Dobson's Bringing up Girls on audio book in the car. The Way it Was in Bible Times and several Samuel commentaries for my writing project.

I'm grateful for... A good job that pays the bills, not everyone has one. Amazing projects God has given me to do in my life. A family that is so full of love and support. A house over our heads during all this rain we've been having lately. My amazing, talented, hard-working, positive wife! Looking forward to a long weekend off of work this week and going to my parent's house in Wisconsin.