Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fighting My Doubts

This is something I have written about many times either in my journal or on this blog because it is something I am constantly battling.

Why do I doubt so much? The words of Paul ring in my ears: "If you don't work, you don't eat." (2 Thess. 3) I should base my life and whether I am in the center of God's will on His Word, but there are so many exceptions to that passage and too many take it too literally. Yet it has been thrown at me time and again. Perhaps it is a sign that I am guilty, or maybe it is simply Satan, the accuser (Rev. 12:10), trying to get to me.

Yes, I am single, and I should be able, if anyone is, of working. I may not get paid for it, but believe me, writing is work. And I hope to make some sort of money from my books. Even if I had a "proper" job right now (which, as you might know, are a bit hard to come by these days), with my high-strung personality, I would not get my writing done. I feel my story is my calling at this time in my life. I have never wanted anything more nor ever felt that I was so perfectly fit for a job. I feel I must defend myself constantly, even when no one is accusing me of any wrongdoing. The world says "Go this way" but I strongly believe God is calling me to something that is so contrary to our culture that even Christians are not entirely on board with it. For a jobless woman without a higher education to stay at home--gasp!--and write a book --gasp!--it must go against Biblical teaching. I am not convinced.

In many ways it seems my entire life has come together to bring me to this time and this task: my circumstances are the perfect writing environment, my type of imagination, my ability to think deeply and outside the box, my knack for lifting others up and bringing them hope, the time in which I live; 10 or 15 years ago it would not have been possible to obtain the amount of information I need to write about the Republic of Georgia or about any of the other ridiculously challenging topics I've had to study. If I had grown up any further in the future I may be blocked by internet censorship.

In the last few years I have been used to remind others of the promises of God. A lot of them have been friends who have lost loved ones; most of those losses recent. What more appropriate time to write about grief and heaven and the big picture of the Kingdom of God? I want to tell people how much God loves them, how much He wants to give them, that our loved ones are having an absolute blast in heaven...I could go on and on. I don't think there has been a series like this, ever. Books like Narnia and Lord of the Rings are more fantasy than this is, though it is closer to Narnia in that it is a mix of fantasy and reality. However, Narnia doesn't show heaven (that I know of--I haven't read the last book!) and I don't think it tells about the New Earth. I'm unaware of any book that does that. Most writers stop there. I say that is the best part, so let's explore it! 

One the most important reasons I believe I am made to do this is because I am a single girl. I appreciate God's love for me more than a lot of people do. So many have experienced love from the opposite sex and don't really know what it is to have no one else. I do. I know what it is to feel--as far as romance goes--unwanted and undervalued; not seen as the treasure I believe I am. I do like myself; I do feel that I am something special that will not come again on the earth. But it isn't a boy that makes me value myself. It is Jesus Christ, the One who died for me and who longs for me.

While I first had the idea to tell a story about the new earth in 2007, and then to write about Georgia in 2010, I have had to do a lot of growing to get to where I am now. I needed to have the proper perspective. The story is largely about God's love for us, and I had to fall in love with God if I was going to be remotely qualified to tell such a story. It seems as if I've taken forever, but maybe I had to be molded.

This year I have thrown myself into my work. I have off days where I don't get much done, today being one of them. Every day I have to decide if I am going to be Mary or Martha. Do I sit at Jesus' feet and do what I am supposed to accomplish, or do I get consumed with worldly tasks? I guess every minute I have the opportunity to change my mind again. As I am listening to the song "Time" by Hans Zimmer from the movie Inception, I am thinking "Which woman am I going to be right now?"   

I have a library book due in 4 days, so...

Friday, February 8, 2013

Prologue From The Future


It has been a long time since I last wrote, but I have never stopped working; not in my mind, anyway. Today I'm faced with some challenges that threaten the entire plot, but also decisions that may make my story a lot more interesting. Let me explain.

There is a lot of sight-seeing in this story. Almost all of it is unimportant itself, except that it is good for character development. The real problem lies in the fact that the context of this character development is dry, and difficult to make interesting. I'm trying to keep it short, and I've done a good job. It only takes up chapter. But a chapter at the start of a book (even if it's not the very first chapter) is crucial to the book's success. I don't want to lose readers because there's a whole chapter of tourism at the beginning.

I have already done a bit of flash-backing, probably too much considering it's all within a single chapter. But I'm starting to think if I have something at the beginning about the real point of this story--a narration or something from the New Earth or heaven part--people will have a reason to read on. 

This is not the first time I've considered this. I have been reluctant to bring anything from the future into this first book. For one thing, I haven't completely developed my ideas for the next ones, and considering there could be as many as three or four, I don't really want to share too much from the later ones if I want any flexibility to problem-solve. I don't want to get into a situation where I can't change something three books down the line because of what I wrote in the first book. So I have to be careful.

I know this is the right move. I need something to connect the series, even at the beginning. I try to prepare myself should someone ask me what this story is about, and in my own imaginings I always hear myself saying "but this is just the first book. The others will be more interesting." Maybe this says a lot about how I perceive my own work. I don't want this first one to seem like it's just something you have to get through before getting to what is better; before you get to what you really want to read. From the outline I've done, it's going to be tense and beautiful and heart-warming and all the things I love about books. At least, that is what I'm trying to do. Which is why I'm going to have to do something about the beginning. I must say, it's a good thing we live in the age of computers so I don't have to reorder everything by hand.

I wish this update was less technical and had less rambling, but it's so hard to talk about it without spoiling anything!