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17 July, 2010

What Now?

So what does a writer who has just finished writing her first YA (young adult) novel do?
She puts it on "the shelf", and works on other writing.
She also submits her first children's story to another agent, knowing that eventually she will find one who likes her writing and will pursue publication.
What does on "the shelf" mean?
Basically the writer steps away from the first draft for two to four weeks and lets her mind wander on to other things. Then she comes back and does a revision, usually two or three, before submitting it to an agent.
Well let's look at an example. My novel centers around a teen in a world different from our own. Food looks and tastes the same, but it all has different names. There are holy men and evil wizards; mythical creatures, and sword fights. I literally had to create another world. So caught up in this other world was I, that I would dream about it at night, skip breakfast and sometimes lunch because my mind was in their world. I was in my writing zone. Which is where you want to be, but it also means you're in so deep, that it can hinder the Second part of writing: revision.
I have to be able to pick apart the 189 typewritten pages: cut out what is unnecessary, add descriptions, or dialogue, or even whole scenes where needed; delete characters that don't drive the story forward, add conflict where it's missing.
Like we are the clay and God is the potter refining us.
My plan while my novel is on "the shelf" is to revise my second children's story, read some good fiction books to analyze their writing, and finish a screenplay I started about a year ago. Poor girl has been clinging to that rock all this time.
I'm glad God asked me to put that screenplay aside and write this novel. I wasn't when I started, I really like the third screenplay I'm writing.
Now when I'm working on the other screenplays and novels, I can look at this novel and see that "everything is possible to the one who believes"
That would be Jesus in Mark 9:23.

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