An Unedited Journal


B. J. Bassett

Blog 2


Lily took many years to write, 27 to be exact.  During those years I not only wrote, but submitted, and published other projects. My husband and I also raised four children and I held many jobs, including owning a Mom and Pop grocery store.

I began this book with ideas that have taken years to think through and put on paper.  I labored over the name of each character.  Lily, the main character, was chosen because she is spirited like a wild red lily.  The name for her self-righteous aunt eventually became Agatha, because I liked the line when Lily describes her aunt as Agatha Pagatha, and I thought it fit a self-righteous older spinster.  Anna, Lily’s grandmother, was named after my own sweet grandmother. I chose William Blair because I felt it was a powerful name for Lily’s father, the respected reverend.  I thought the name Harold was perfect for Lily’s husband, etc. 

The characters came first, while I sat in church one Sunday.  I wrote notes about the novel on the church bulletin. One scribbled notation was Grace—unmerited favor. I knew I wanted to write a novel about God’s love, forgiveness of sinners and his grace.

            Later I found the following quote by a French priest. “To love anyone is to hope in him always.  From the moment at which we begin to judge anyone, to limit our confidence in him, from the moment at which we identify (pigeon hole) him, and so reduce him to that, we cease to love him, and he ceases to be able to become better.  We must dare to love in a world that does not know how to love.” The quote was instrumental in the writing of Lily, in that I found it inspirational and referred to it often while writing the manuscript. I also felt it was a character trait for Lily’s grandmother, Anna. While others judged Lily, Anna always saw the good in her.


                    by Martha Graham


I approach the

Throne of Grace,




Softly, silently,

He places His own robe

around me;

His robe of righteousness,





I kneel before

the Throne,




I used Bible verses, poetry and quotes to get a feel for what I wanted to do.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God—not because of works, lest any man should boast.”—Eph. 2:8, 9

            Lily is a sinner saved by God’s grace. Now I have my story in one sentence.

A Description of Lily:

            “Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing and the like.” —Galatians 5:19-21a

In the beginning Lily thinks the members of her father’s church are pure, honest, and absolutely boring. Later in the book she discovers they are prejudice, etc.

A Description of Anna:

            “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” —Galatians 5:22, 23



Published in: on January 27, 2013 at 12:06 am  Leave a Comment  





B. J. Bassett

(This unedited journal of The Writing of Lily will be posted weekly.)




            The idea for this journal came about while visiting my daughter Melanie and her family in Solvang, California. Solvang is a charming Danish town where tourists come from all over the world to visit. I usually treat myself, while in Solvang, to a new book.

I entered the Book Loft and discovered a book that changed my life. Displayed on the shelf were copies of Working Days, the Journals of The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck. After paying the clerk I held the book close to my chest, knowing I’d found a treasure.

            I related to all the ups and downs Steinbeck suffered while writing Grapes of Wrath—the good writing days, the frustrations, and life. His journal consists of his relationship with his publisher, visits from friends as well as aspiring writers asking for advice. Entry #63, September 3, 1938 reads: “. . . . Young man wants to talk, wants to be a writer. What could I tell him? Not a writer myself yet. . . . I think I never really believe I will finish a book until it is finished . . . . I just hope it is good.”

            After reading Steinbeck’s Working Days, I decided to keep a journal while writing my historical novel, Lily. Maybe someday my journal will encourage other writers just like Working Days influenced me.

           This journal will log the obstacles and successes of writing Lily andcomment on all the hours, days, and months of research in museums, libraries, etc.

           Those who are curious about how Lily was created will discover the answers while reading The Writing of Lily, A Journal.

B. J. Bassett

Published in: on January 18, 2013 at 10:35 pm  Comments (1)