Monday, October 13, 2008

whip lashes

Skip to the last paragraph if you want to see what why I titled this 'whip lashes'.

So, it's official, I finished the last chapter of my children's novel Last Monday night at 11:30 pm. For the first couple days I fell kind giddy. I kept re-reading the last page of my book and sighing with delight, wow – I really got there! But I also felt kind of lost, like how in the world will I ever be able to switch over to another novel?

With National Novel Writing Month (see this writing challenge is largely the reason why I was finally able to finish my first novel!) coming up in November, I knew I had to decide which book to start next. I have ideas for two sequels but these are still mostly in the “dream” stage and anyway I’d like to get away from writing for children/youth and try something adult.

 I have one book completely plotted out and ready to go, but that one is another fantasy. Also, since I have spent the last two dozen years working on fantasy genre, I really want to try something in the real world, and I really want to write something purposefully Christian, where I don't have to disguise my faith in symbols or allegory. So that leaves one option, an idea I’ve been kicking around for 4 of 5 years that's loosely based on my experience of my first year of marriage and being a step mom. But I have an awful lot of development to do on this book. I have a very basic plot and a couple character sketches, but nothing like the scene-by-scene outline that I had for my first story. It’s awfully nice when you turn on your computer to not be confronted with a blank page, but to have a little paragraph summarizing just what you are supposed to work on for the next two hours. Prevents writer’s block.

So I spent last week really thinking (and a little praying) about which novel to tackle. During break times at a training class down in Boulder, I mulled over the plot and two primary characters (for now, they are Rowen and Sam) then finally, on Friday, took a stab at the first three scenes. And I felt pretty good about them. Okay, so it seems like the word is “go” for this new idea. However I need to outline quite a bit more than just the first three scenes in order to be able to keep up my writing momentum during November. My writing friend, NL, recommended that instead of going off an outline I should just write “out of the mist” and see what happens. I suppose that’s what I’ll have to do if I don’t get much more of an outline done in the next 3 weeks.

At least the beautiful Indian Summer weather will no longer be competing for my attention. It has turned cold and this weekend we got such a vicious wind that it blew almost every leaf off the trees in my neighborhood, turning our beautiful golden autumn into drab brown overnight. But the weekend before I was able to go for another wonderful trail ride with my mom through the autumn hills, so at least fall didn’t get away from me this year, I’ve been blessed with lots of time to soak it all up. Too bad one can’t soak it all up and save it to savor again later, mid-winter!

Last night at church our assistant pastor gave another illustration that I just have to share (see my last blog about speeding tickets for another example). This one was about a mighty King who was known thoughout the land as a King of justice. He was determined to bring justice to every situation in his kingdom and would not tolerate any sort of crime. In fact he would usually administer the punishment – 40 lashes with a whip – himself, and since he was a very strong, powerful man these lashes were a terrible punishment indeed. One day it came to his attention that someone was stealing from his palace. He set his police to find out who the perpetrator was, but for a long time they could not catch the thief. And when they finally did, it came as a terrible shock because the thief was the King’s own mother. All the kingdom began to speculate what the King would do. He was known for His unrelenting justice; but how could he have his own mother whipped? But when the time came, the King did tell his men to tie the old woman to the whipping post. Everyone was horrified. Instead of picking up his whip, the King handed it to someone else and told them to go ahead and administer the 40 lashes. But first, he took of his shirt and wrapped his body around his mother’s so that he would take the brunt of the lashes for her.

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