Wednesday, June 01, 2005
How I Got Here, Part 63
Yowser, it’s June. Do you realize we started this here NES in February? Good grief. It’s almost embarrassing to see I’ve been talking about myself for so long.
Despite my loquaciousness, God seems to be using the NES anyway. Yesterday’s post about Satan’s lies really spoke to some BGs. How wondrous that is. Thank You, God! The things He’ll use. I sure was blessed reading the comments. Thanks to you all who wrote. I’m thanking God for what He’s doing in your lives.
Now, to continue on with our story . . .
When we left off our NES yesterday, I had a book title, a spiritual theme, and the beginnings of a plot. Now to really start writing the story, because time was running out.
You all have heard me say before that this book really drove me crazy. It’s true. In the initial writing, and in the rewrite (which was a big one.) I was merging two series, see. And they weren’t very compatible. Hidden Faces is in first person—the POV of Annie. The Chelsea Adams series was in third person.
The book ended up remaining mostly in Annie’s POV as first person, but with third person chapters coming in where necessary. This was an interesting process. Basically I followed what the story dictated. It simply didn’t work keeping everything in Annie’s POV (plus the bad guy scenes scattered throughout), because Chelsea then remained a secondary character. Plus many important scenes were looking pretty flat without being told in other POVs. This didn’t all get worked out until the rewrite.
The other major challenge was that the emerging plot was convoluted. Various crimes going on, with all sorts of possibilities as to what had to do with what—or were they not connected at all?
Third, toward the last 40% of the book, the story moved toward an ensemble cast because of all that was happening. Ensemble casts can be tricky to write.
I’m telling ya, I really kicked cabinets on this book.
After it was all over, after the rewrite, then I decided I liked the book. Now the further away I get from writing Web of Lies, the more cool a book I think it is. Ain’t that just the craziest thing? But it’s so very typical for authors under contract. The joy of the book comes after it’s written.
Meanwhile, while writing this crazy spider book, I was thinking, “Oh, can’t wait til this book is done, ’cause then I get to write Dearing Family—the new women’s fiction series I was supposed to start writing a book ago.
Then came the marketing meeting with the Zondervan folks in early January. My editor; Sue, the marketing director; and an outside consultant they’d hired flew out to meet with me and my husband for a day to discuss my career and how to market my books for the future. Through our discussion it became clear quite quickly that my dual focus on suspense and women’s fiction was presenting a real challenge marketing-wise. My suspense sales had gone up since I started writing the Hidden Faces series, even bringing a former suspense (Eyes of Elisha) back on the bestseller list. At the same time, my sales of the Bradleyville books were suffering because they didn’t figure into the current promotion of my suspense persona. To build my suspense readers, then turn around and do another women’s fiction series would mean we’d have to start the momentum all over again with these different readers. (Now I’ll admit there are many folks who read both kinds of my books. But there are others who may like suspense but not read women’s fiction, or vice versa.)
That’s the practical side. But there was a whole other side to this meeting—God, what do You want of my career? Where do You want to see me going?
I had really prayed for this meeting as it approached. I also had the two women I meet with every week for prayer to even pray with me over the room the morning of the meeting. I felt ready to hear whatever God wanted to impress upon me. Sure, I had my basic agenda for the meeting in mind—figure out how best to market myself in two genres at once. But I assured God that He was in charge of the meeting, and my writing in general, and I would be open to His Spirit.
Well. This all sounds terrific when you’re praying. But what happens when His leading ain’t at all the way you expected to be led?
Read Part 64