Trusting the Process
Wow. Wow. Wow.
I haven’t posted in over four months. That’s the longest break I’ve taken since I started blogging ten years ago. And it’s not for lack of wanting to, it’s because life happened (moving, working, family stuff, etc) and I was in the middle of a crisis of faith with Faerie Tales from the White Forest Book Four.
Or really, I should say a crisis of trust.
Faith and trust are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Faith is known as the “substance of hope.” It’s very nature is that it requires no evidence, one just believes. Trust is based largely on evidence from previous knowledge/experience. For example, you might trust someone because they’ve never given you a reason to do otherwise. You generally trust your friends not to stab you in the back.
I did not like book four while I was writing it. I honestly thought it was a hot mess. At one point I called it the “suckiest piece of suck that ever sucked.” Half-way through my first rewrite I nearly called my publisher to tell him I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t finish the book, I couldn’t figure out how to deliver it from hot messness.
Instead, I called one of my author friends, the one I always call on because she entered the world of children’s literature a few years before I did, and she always tells me the thing I need to hear. She told me: Danika, you know how to do this. Trust the process.
Trust the process.
This is what I always tell my students. I proclaim to them that “creation is messy!” I’m a process junkie. I’m all about the journey. I usually find editing the most inspiring part of writing, my editing skills applied like wielding a wand. But this story was being a difficult child. It was too confusing, too convoluted, too complicated. There were too many continuity issues between Book 4 and the rest of the series, and I thought I could never address them all. I was totally overwhelmed.
I took a break from my rewrite and read the first three books over again. I took copious notes on continuity issues and typed them up. Every time I started a new chapter I read over those notes and pulled out the ones that applied to that section.
And one by one, each note was addressed (or dismissed) and crossed off. It took months. When I got the first draft to the copy editor, it didn’t feel real. And the day I reached the last sentence on the last draft before it went to the publisher, I burst into tears.
Somewhere during my final rewrite, I realized what the story was about. It was a story about trust. I was in my kitchen when I realized it and I stood there for a full minute reveling in the irony. The idea of trust appears over and over again throughout the story. Imagine that.
Launch date for Narine of Noe is Dec 5th.
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Where is the moment in your story where your character loses trust in themselves or someone/something else? Is it a cheating lover? A friend who steals? A failed attempt at something? A writer who has written five novels who suddenly can’t see her way through her latest manuscript? Is the trust lost for irrational reasons? Over a misunderstanding? Over prejudice?
Set your timer for 5 -10 minutes per start line
When timer starts: write, don’t stop, don’t edit, don’t cross out.
(just do it!)*
1) My character has a hard time trusting (in general, self, or specific person) because . . .
2) My character’s trust is broken when . . .
3) The cage my character creates for her/himself due to his/her lack of trust looks like . . .
3) My character doesn’t/can’t learn to trust again until . . .
Now write your next scene . . .
*If you want to try various ways of writing try short sentences, long sentence release (no punctuation, just connect everything by conjunctions), or listing.