Saturday, April 01, 2006

I've come a long way

I've been editing my manuscript for the novella due in September. We first submitted the proposal back in 2001. I can't believe how much better my writing is now than it was back then. As I edit I find I'm adding more sensory details, more emotional response and more depth to my characters.

Of course the very first novel I wrote back in 1954 when I was seventeen broke all the rules of good writing. At that time I simply wrote what I felt as a teenager writing about teenagers. Headhopping was the worst mistake I made along with tons of description. One thing I did notice was that I had plenty of conflict, a steady goal, and motivation to reach that goal.

In Not on the Menu, I have a 65 year old woman, Dottie Jean Weaver, who is content with her life as the owner of the best catfish restaurant in South Mississippi. When a wealthy, former classmate Fletcher Cameron comes along and takes her out of that environment into his, all her self-confidence and happiness is stomped on by former classmates who only remember her as the daughter of a drunk and a dressmaker for the wealthy. She returns to Calista and the friends she knows care about her and love her. Will Fletcher be able to win the heart of the woman he loved as a teenager back in high school? Only if Dottie is able to forget her childhood and concentrate on the future with a man who loves her.

Yes, I've come a long way from writing skits, paper doll stories, and teenage love stories.
It's been a long journey during which my self-confidence flew out the window several times as the rejection letters rolled in. It's also been an exciting journey to see where God would lead me. I've met so many exciting people along the way. These people have encouraged me, critiqued me, mentored me, given me opportunities, and have been my cheerleaders.

One of those was my journalism teacher in high school. She told me I had "a gift for words" and she hoped I would someday use it to entertain others. Well, it took over 50 years for that to happen. In the meantime I wrote Bible studies, devotions, and personal stories in hopes of pointing people to Jesus. Now I have a book I pray will accomplish the dreams of that journalism teacher, Mrs. Juniger, and a 16 year old who loved putting words together.