Monday, September 12, 2011

Growing ...

This past week I started revising my manuscript for my next release. It's the last of the four remaining unpublished novels I've previously written that I believe is good enough to put on Kindle and Nook. The other three need way too much work! It would be easier to just write a new story from scratch.

As I went over the first two chapters of Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing, it was amazing to see how much I've learned about writing since I finished this story in 2004. One of the first things I noticed was my tendency to rely on backstory. TRT is the sequel to Lyrics, my first manuscript. At the time, I felt as if I had to recap the first story in order for the reader to get to know the characters. Now, some seven years later, I know how to sprinkle backstory throughout the book rather than dumping it all up front. LOL!

The best part of this story is the awesome love Michael and Dee Reese have for each other. To give a brief overview, The Real Thing is a story about a good man who makes a bad decision, how it affects his marriage and how he goes about rectifying it and making amends to his wife.

This is my second faith-based novel. Unlike the theme of I Can't Get Next to You, which is acceptance and obedience, the theme of TRT is the power of forgiveness and the question, "Are some things unforgiveable in a marriage?"

My first three published novels were mainstream romance and women's fiction. Most people don't know that the first four books I wrote were faith-based stories. At the time, everything I learned about writing said to write what you know, so that's what I did. The manuscripts weren't those "dirt in the church" stories. Personally, I don't like those. These were stories about people facing change or crisis in their lives who just happen to be believers. This is what I know. It's my life and the lives of my friends, family and church family. Real people facing real issues.

I want my faith-based books to always have a message, but I never want to come across as being heavy-handed or preachy. Some readers, whom I've already heard from, take issue with this kind of writing. They feel the issues are too raw and the writing is too edgy, but I don't apologize for that. I am not a Pollyanna writer who only presents life as all roses, puppies and happy-happy joy-joy.


That's not reality. What I desire to get across is how my characters rely on their faith to overcome the harsh obstacles they face.

These two books will not appeal to everyone, but what book does? I hope readers won't be afraid to buy the books because they see "Christian" or "born-again" in the descriptions. The drama readers will experience in both books is something everyone can relate to.

Writers, have you ever reworked an old manuscript? What did you discover about yourself and your writing?

6 comments:

Delaney Diamond said...

I can relate! I look back at the stories I wrote a couple of years ago and realize how far I've come! I'll have to tweak a few of them a great deal before they see the light of day. Others, I'll just borrow scenes from them to drop into new stories.

Best wishes on the next release!!

PatriciaW said...

I remember reading this one and always hoped it would find a home. Can't wait for you to release it.

Justina Wheelock said...

I remember completing a manuscript for my third work, TWISTING THE SCRIPT. In my mind, it was finished...enough word count and I had taken my characters on a journey, i.e, acts 1-3. Yet, there was something missing. During the same time-frame I became a member of a social networking site that was primarily Christian based--ran by Dr. Joseph Howard. I joined the site to feed my spirit and purposely and literally wanted to keep a low profile because of how some Christians view romantic works. (My fans and I consider my works romance with class... but, that's another discussion.) Before submitting TWISTING THE SCRIPT for publication the work was revised and a strong spiritual thread was included. I consider joining the site a divine set up.

Connie Gillam said...

Nice blog, Chicki.

I'm also revising an old manuscript. Like you, it's amazing what I've learned over the last six years of writing.

Good luck with the revisions.

Sharon Cunningham Cooper said...

Hurry and finish revising this one, Chicki! Looking forward to reading it. Oh, and I'm glad you're staying away from writing "dirt in the church" crap! Though I love a good faith based read, those are a turn off!

Keep us posted on the release date.

Chicki said...

That's a good idea about borrowing scenes, Delaney!

I don't remember you reading that one, Patricia. The story will basically stay the same, but since I've spent the past four days just revising Chs. 1-3, you might not recognize it. LOL!

Justina, that sounds like a wonderful group. And I know what you mean about how some Christians feel about romance. You have to tread carefully. I already have the cover, and I think it's going to be too hot for some ... :)

How's it going with the revisions, Connie. I'm finding this is more time consuming than writing a new story ...

Sharon, I'm aiming for December, but it all depends on whether I can get it to the editor in time. If not, the release date will be after the first of the year.