I wrote this post in August when asked to be a guest blogger on Nicole Miller’s To the Heart of History blog.
How does a novel take over twenty years to write? I admit to being slow, but that’s a bit ridiculous, don’t you think?
Shortly after I first started writing twenty-three years ago, I gave myself an assignment to be read by my class. I wanted to “practice” writing mood and description, so I created a nineteenth century mysterious, slightly shady character who rides into town and checks into a hotel without revealing his name or anything about his business. Frankly, I knew nothing about his business, either.
After the class, I put it away to concentrate on publishing short pieces. Over the next couple of decades, I collected four binders of clips—cards and posters, poetry, devotions, and short stories. Contemporary novels, though started, remained unfinished in various computer files. It never seemed the right time to complete one.
Then two and a half years ago I dug out two old manuscripts, the above historical and a contemporary. Within a few weeks, I felt led to put the contemporary aside to concentrate solely on the one set in 1884. Lo and behold, God said this was the right time to complete a novel!
A year later, I got a proposal ready and quickly sent it to the agent of my dreams. It was rejected and I was…well…dejected. Then, I joined American Christian Fiction Writers and went back to school—refining, polishing, and replotting.
Not much is left of those original pages except the names, period and location, but soon I’ll send Waiting for Yesterday out again in search of one of those all-important agents. In the meantime, I’ve written “The End” on another book and started a third.
Perhaps Waiting for Yesterday will remain an “assignment.” It may not be meant to publish, but I am applying the time of learning to the slew of stories in my head and on my hard drive. And I’m convinced that, in the future, more than one of them will rest inside a beautiful cover.
So, if something hasn’t come about in the time you had in mind, remember that twenty years is only the snap of two fingers when the timing is right.
Update: Waiting for Yesterday went out, with no reply yet. In the meantime, I’m over halfway through the first draft of a third book.