I am discovering that we serve an awesome God.
Don’t take that the wrong way. I have known all along what an awesome God He is; but the discovery is an ongoing process that just gets better and better.
As some may know, I submitted a manuscript to a publisher and was awaiting a review.
The synopsis and query had been posted on Christian Manuscript Submissions, and then I had received a request from an interested editor to see the entire manuscript.
Even as I was proofreading the story one last time before that submission, I was suddenly asking myself some serious questions about the way it was written. I did not want to take the time to rewrite what I was unsure about, so I submitted it with an email that asked those questions to the editor.
I recently got an email that informed me that they did not feel that it was ready for publication yet. They gave their reasons, and told me to use the comments to rewrite and then resubmit the work.
I have been digesting their suggestions, trying to find a way to make them work, somewhat amazed that the suggestions are in line with my own doubts. I find myself wondering if God put the doubts in my head to prepare me for the review.
One of the reviewers said they loved the storyline and the first few chapters just the way they were; but that I was too formulaic and imitative. I was not really sure what this meant, and had to ask someone that had already read the manuscript to explain to me what it meant, according to what they remembered reading.
This review was encouraging because they gave me a couple suggestions and said they saw tremendous potential in my story.
I have to admit, though, I am a little fearful of delving into my own words and finding the places that they told me needed changing.
Part of this reluctance stems from the fact that this comment was generic, two sentences, that covered 300 plus pages of words and ideas. How am I to find the exact points that need changing and change them, without having to rewrite all 300 pages?
My reluctance is also coming from the fact that another reviewer stated that the Christian elements overwhelm everything else, making it impossible to develop realistic characters or scenes.
This really bothered me because the story is based on my life and my faith. I wrote those Christian elements according to my own faith journey and growth, using my day-to-day living and experience as an example.
I couldn’t help but wonder if that comment meant they would also think my life was unrealistic.
So, I have been struggling with the review, praying for the wisdom to know what to change, what to leave, and for the words and ideas to make it ‘right’.
I welcomed the advice and suggestions, yet I have been fighting against discouragement and self-doubt, asking that God show me clear directions on the next phase of this project.
And He has.
The day before I received the email from the editor, I found a blog about Christian fiction being too ‘preachy’. I personally like an in-your-face Gospel message because it reaffirms and strengthens my faith. I feel let down, like something is missing if it is not in the story.
I was amazed to read comment after comment on this blog that said people get preached at on Sunday morning, they do not want to get preached at when reading a book. I began to squirm in my seat, literally, because I was reviewing my story in my mind and clearly seeing how much ‘preaching’ there was in it.
As I read those comments, I found myself wishing that I had the chance to re-do those preachy parts and make the message available but not quite so in-your-face. I knew I could not change anything until I got the response from the editor that would tell me their decision.
I immediately sent an email to the editor telling her about the comments and stating that I was wondering about my ‘preachiness’. The very next day, I got the email from the editor informing me that all the reviews were now in and told me the comments.
I also questioned my ability, comparing myself to someone else whose writing seems to flow with a beauty and maturity that I am sure I will never possess. It was then that I was led to a blog that basically said we write as the Lord gave us talent and ability. We will never be, or write like, someone else; and we need to know and understand and accept that truth.
I doubted myself because of the critique, and the need to rewrite, and I questioned whether I should just give up. He led me to a blog about someone that had 60 rejections of one book before an acceptance that led to a published best seller and a movie deal for the story no one else wanted.
With each and every question and doubt that have come into my mind over this manuscript, God has shown me clearly the answers that I needed to find, just when I needed to find them.
Like I said, we serve an awesome God.
© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2011