Blog #6

The Writing of Lily

An Unedited Jounal

March 3, 1998

            Here I am again—no closer to a finished novel. How many years have I been struggling?

            I have a Pen Women meeting Saturday and I’d like to have a new chapter ready to read.  Will I be able to do it?

            I think I’ll do a one page synopsis for the members to read so they’ll have an idea of what Lily is about.

March 9, 1998

            I took an eight page synopsis of Lily and read it to Pen Women.  I asked them to be brutal with a critique. 

            I will list some of the critique suggestions here and refer to this when I work on Lily.  

            More than one member suggested keeping Tess, but she shouldn’t be James’ cousin.  Several also thought it was a cliché story—like Gone with the Wind. Some wanted to see James and Luke together—maybe at Lily’s funeral. They see it as a trilogy.

Several want to see James and Lily get together.  Didn’t like Lily being in prison for 20 years and they want a happy ending.

            I need subplots in the synopsis. What is going on with James and Tess, what about Harold and White Dove and Lily’s sons?

March 10, 1998

Good characterization taken from This Side of Glory by Gwen Bristow, pg. 193.

At the age of eighteen Isabel graduated.  She was gentle, . . . and soft-voiced, with a lovely face, golden hair a yard long and large, innocent eyes.

            But under its abundance of waves and velvet fillets Isabel’s head contained a brain that was clever, calculating and productive of ambition.  Convinced that a girl’s life

was determined by a kind of marriage she made, Isabel had channeled all her talents toward making a very superior marriage indeed.  Her upbringing had been exactly what she needed.  She could dance beautifully, listen ardently, tinkle tunes on the piano, and dress in such a fashion as to make everybody look in admiration when she entered a room…

Bottom of pg. 194

            She learned that while her face and figure were invaluable assets, looks alone were not sufficient working capital; for the best results one must also use one’s mind.  Recalling that somewhere in her schoolbooks she had seen a line about speech being given to man to conceal his thoughts, she reflected very soon that cleverness was given to woman to conceal her intellect; simply, that if a girl wished to captivate young gentlemen the best use she could make of her intelligence would be to employ it in devising means to prevent their suspecting that she had any.  For Isabel to pose as less gifted than some of the young beaus she met that winter required mental agility of a very high order.  But she did it, walking through the first weeks of the social season in a flutter of helpless loveliness.

            Then, gradually, she became wiser.  She discovered that the more brilliant of her male acquaintances did not admire such an utterly brainless beauty as she was pretending to be.  She observed then that the cleverer a man was, the more he liked a clever woman, his only requirement being that she be just a trifle less clever than himself; he wanted her to look up to him, but the higher the pinnacle on which she could convince him she must stand in order to be just beneath him, the more he would be flattered by her adoration.  And while she had not yet come across a young gentleman whom she sincerely considered wiser than herself, none of them suspected it.

While Isabel is a southern belle, Lily is like her in many ways.

            If she wanted it, Lily could have been the most popular girl in town.  I’ll use some of these ideas with the development of Lily’s character.

March 17, 1998

            I think the reason I’m having trouble with writing chapter 19 (the scene at the Conti home after James returns from WWI) is because it is too soon to talk about opening a blind school.  I need to have a plant sooner.  Tess will know of James’ blindness sooner and will be working through ideas how to help him.    

            Some possible story (synopsis) changes:

            James will come to Lily’s rescue when she is sentenced to life?  Did they sentence them for that long back then?  Find out.  But there will be no intimacy; James is married to Tess.  But James never forgot his feelings for Lily.  He will be a good friend.  He will find her a dynamic new attorney from his blind school to represent her.  Lily will eventually be acquitted.   

            I still don’t know if there will be a reunion between James, Lily, and Luke. 

May 26, 1998

            To date I have 88 submissions in the mail, but not many sales. I’ll be teaching two workshops at the Write on the Sound Conference in Edmonds, Washington, in October. I’m excited. I’ve also been accepted as a workshop presenter at the Children’s Pastors Conference in Nashville in January 1999 and will be teaching four workshops.

            Through my job as Children’s Ministry Director at Hydesville Community Church I’m writing a grant; I feel good about the grant because of the experience. All in all I’m pleased, yet I always seem to want more.

May 30, 1998

            I did as Judy Pella suggested and put Lily into chapter outline form.  I have reread the chapters I have already written and outlined them and hopefully, I’m now ready to go on and outline the rest of the book.

June 2, 1998

Notes written earlier:

            After train depot scene: I have to get James and Tess alone—where?  In the kitchen?  On a drive? When were there bridges instead of ferries? What time of year is it? Could it be bad weather? Look up date—this might help with writing this chapter. Of course if they stay inside the house, I don’t have a weather problem. But what was the weather like at the depot? James said, “I won’t be a charity case.” If I’m not ready to write this chapter, which chapter am I ready to write?

June 2, 1998

            Thing to do:

            Write a paragraph description of nurse and military life. She is a brunette—white uniform, cap, blue cape with red lining, white stockings, white shoes, patient, yet firm, and caring blue eyes. He’s blind. He can’t see her. Will he ask someone else what she looks like or will she volunteer information? 

            The picnic will be in a place untouched by war. Where will they get a car? What nationality is she? What does the hospital look like? Would she take him to a canteen? No, he doesn’t want to be stared at.

            Possible names:  Jo, Catherine, Kathryn.

            The nurse will write to Tess because she reads and writes for him.  The nurse will add her concerns when she writes to Tess.

April 26, 1919

Maybe they will teach him everything he needs to know to function before they send him home.

            James and Tess will open a school for the blind—now it will be appropriate for Tess’ father to approach James with a business proposition.

June 9, 1998

I tried to do some rewriting of chapter 17.  Bring in what is happening to James after the war while he’s in a hospital.  I want the reader to know he is blind, but not Lily until he disembarks from the train.  Having trouble; I can only seem to get about a page written in an hour.  I think I’ll take a break and do something physical, and think.

July 7, 1998

I spent three hours at the Benbow Inn in Garberville, California reviewing notes on first murder trial scene. (The Benbow Inn is my favorite place to think, read, write, relax and swim. At 3:00 I go up to the lobby and have tea and scones and work on a jigsaw puzzle.) After a day at the Benbow Inn I’m ready to get back to work.

July 9, 1998

I’ll enter more on trial scene in computer.

July 30, 1998

I received a call from Sabine Ball concerning ghost writing. This is an exciting possibility. Sabine is a German lady compared to Corrie Ten Boom. She lived in Germany during WWII. After coming to the United States she founded a commune in Mendocino, California where young people stayed as they tried to get off drugs. Later she became a Christian in 1971 and eventually returned to Dresden, Germany and funded a ministry for skinheads. She’s called the Mother Teresa of Dresden.

I met with Sabine and she interviewed me and my friend Nick Harrison. She decided we were not the right fit to write her biography.  Instead she chose a German writer to write her book in German. Needless to say Nick and I were disappointed.

August 18, 1998

            We had grandsons Ben and Brock with us last week and now I’m melancholy. Is it because I miss them or is it the rejection I got from Poets and Writers? Maybe both.

November 5, 1998

I’m experiencing another dry spell with writing Lily.  I’d like to write another chapter.  Actually I’d like to complete this manuscript.  What is taking me so long?  Am I misdirected? 

I’ve tried to do research on blindness, etc. 

November 16, 1998

Things I need to do:

            Write a description of Josephine (the nurse).

            Write some scenes with Josephine—she is concerned about James and will write to Tess.

Dear Tess,

            My name is Josephine Fregeau. James Conti has been one of my patients and will be leaving the hospital soon.

            He was blinded near the end of the war, and he’s frustrated, bitter, and discouraged. He does not want to be a burden on his family. In time he will adjust. I have told him about a school for the blind in Boston, which can teach him how to live life to its fullest under the circumstances.

            I have read all of your letters to him . . . (Lily pg. 80)

Do more research on blindness. Do some research on marketing Lily.

February 12, 1999

A breakthrough on chapter 17, etc. I have been struggling with this scene for too long.  Today when I forced myself to sit down and work on this chapter some things became clear. 

I read that a Lily of the Valley is for good luck in France.  What a good idea for Josephine to pin a Lily of the Valley on James’ uniform when he leaves the hospital to return to the US in May. “The lily of the valley is the lucky flower of France.” She added, “I wish you more than luck. I’ll keep you in my prayers, soldier.” Just then the train whistle shrilled. “We’d better get abroad,” the other soldier said. Jo kissed James on his cheek and waiting as his companion helped James up the steps of the train. “Bye, Jo,” James called over his soldier. “Bye, soldier,” she said. He heard the tears in her voice. (Lily pg. 81)

Will the flower cause James to think about Lily? What will be his thoughts? Is he over Lily or just resigned to the fact that she is not available?  Will his thoughts still be all muffled when he returns to the US or will he be resigned to the fact?  What about Tess?  Doesn’t she deserve him totally without baggage?

May 3, 1999

            What am I going to do with Lily?  I have Evergreen Writers (a critique group) on Saturday and I need to have a chapter or part of one to read.  Should I try to continue with the last scene I read concerning the nurse Jo with James in WWI, or a scene after William has a debilitating stroke?  Or when Harold sends Lily away for R and R?  I sure don’t know which direction to take.  I guess I’m lucky to have so many choices.

            Concerning other writing—I’m so excited about my contact with Harcourt Brace and two assignments to write educational material.  Today I sent them three more ideas to consider.  I sold “The Three Step Query Letter” to the Writer magazine. It’ll be reprinted in the Writer’s Handbook 2000.  This is a feat for me.

            In my personal life:  Dad has incurable bile duct cancer.  They aren’t sure how much time he has and no suggested treatments or surgery.  He is handling it well and I think I am too.  Time will tell.  I am so much like him. I’m glad to have his good qualities—his persistence, positive attitude, and hopefully his playfulness.  My mother is also more positive now that Dr. Tuck has increased her medication dosage. (My mother suffers from depression.)

            So here goes.  I will start to write something on Lily today. 

            Later:  I wrote one and a half pages on the Bradford Inn scene which later needed a lot of work.

August 25, 1999

            My Time with God, the work-for-hire children’s devotion book for Focus on the Family, is hard work; a fifth rewrite still to do. Ugh!

September 1999

            I went to Sharon Brown’s cabin in Southern Humboldt for an Evergreen Writer’s retreat.  Jean Murray and Christine Sackey also went. 

            I spent Friday afternoon and all day Saturday.  Didn’t write a lot, but happy with what I did do—chapter titles for Part II and Part III of Lily provided some structure to the  project; some writing on the Bradford Inn scene when Lily meets Sven (about 350 words); revised writing goals; I did some clustering on a commitment piece; marketing my children’s book review column . . . and a two hour nap this PM.

            All in all the retreat was very beneficial.

Published in: on February 25, 2013 at 9:13 pm  Leave a Comment  


Blog #5 

The Writing of Lily

An Unedited Journal 

After a long break from writing Lily.

June 1995

            I tried to work on chapter 19 (what to do after the train scene when James’ returns from the war blind) without much success.

            I don’t know what to do next.  I don’t know how the characters will react.  Do I need to get to know my characters better?  It’s been so long. Maybe I need to start at the beginning and read the manuscript to this point to see if anything develops. 

            Should I have White Dove move in with Lily and Harold? How do I show Lily’s discontent? I think one of the reasons I like Lily is because she is so different from me. My boredom never lasts very long. When I was eight I told my mother I was bored and she said, “Go color.” I don’t think I’ve been bored since then. I can always find something I enjoy doing. But Lily isn’t like me—so I must reach into the few times I’ve felt sadness and capture it on the page.

            Possible scenes:  Lily with Tess; Lily with James. Would they accidentally meet or would it be planned? By whom?

            Lily starts to tell James that Luke is his child when Tess walks up.

            I don’t see White Dove.  I went to the library and discovered a wonderful book of paintings of Indians.  I found a picture of White Dove.  Could this be a new beginning? I can only hope.

July 12, 1995

            Began work on Lily again.  White Dove may attend art school in San Francisco.  She will support herself with her art.  She will paint Luke and Willy.  It feels good to be back on track again.

            Concerning my personal life—I was laid off from Eureka Floor Company in March.  Looked for work in April (Reno), put house on the market—no buyers, May: attended Uncle Dave’s memorial service in Washington, lots of dentist and doctor appointments, mammogram, and a breast biopsy.  I feel like I’ve been drilled and probed enough.  After a week of waiting for the results, thank God no cancer.  I helped at Vacation Bible School.  Wrote and submitted small things, tried to syndicate my children’s book review column and wrote a short story, “Teagan.”           

            Had lunch with Jane Peart and went to the library today and found a photo of the cabin (Lily and James secret meeting place in Part 1 of the book).  

            I feel ready to review scene ideas to get started again.  I pasted character photos on a large poster board to place near my computer for inspiration, focus, and encouragement.  I also refined my characters: William is a combination of my great-grandfather and my pastor; James is a combination of one of my uncles and my dad— curly hair, short, strong and wiry; Anna may possibly look like my great-grandmother (a narrow face, slim).  I also did a collage of photos of the houses: Blair House, cabin, Harold and Lily’s company home, etc.  

July 13-14, 1995

            In case Lily becomes a series, I wrote notes on three other books—Anna (the journey from the east coast to the west), Rebecca (Lily’s mother), and Becky (Lily’s granddaughter—Vietnam era).

July 24, 1995

            Ray Bradbury wrote in his book, Zen in the Art of Writing Essays on Creativity, that quantity is practice for quality of writing, so I’m going to try to practice, practice, practice. What I’ll write about I’m not sure, but I hope and plan to really dive into it.

            I’m not sure if this is something I’ve already discovered about Lily or if it’s new.  I have to know what is most important to Lily. It has to be something she has to strive for throughout the book.  I believe it is salvation (although she doesn’t know it).  She thinks James is most important to her.  Or is it striving after happiness?  Does she think she’ll be happy if she leaves Harold and Luke?

            I still need to sort through my ideas for new scenes and plotting of Lily.  I hope to do that tonight.

July 26, 1995

            Here I sit again today feeling no closer to a breakthrough writing Lily than I have for months.  Last night before going to bed I tried to read some of my notes on scenes and character charts to spark my imagination to begin a new chapter, but I don’t feel anything.  I think I need to read the complete manuscript.  Each time I’ve been away from it for a long time, I need to reconnect with where I am and where I need to go. Maybe I’m still not ready to finish Lily although I had hoped to after all these years.

1985 – 1995 Ten Years Recap

            I’ve paid my dues and finally established myself as a freelance writer. The accomplishments I’m proud of are “Our Nightmare with Melanie” published in the Best Seller, The Focus on the Family Guide to Growing a Healthy Home; my home-study course, How to be a Published Writer; writing Sunday school curriculum; writing devotions; 1986 Christian Writer’s Conference Director at College of the Redwoods, Eureka, California; and newspaper columns. I’ve built a firm foundation and now I’m ready to build a skyscraper with published work.

After a long dry spell:

March 9, 1996

     I’m having plot problems with Lily. At first I had Lily leave her children. (She leaves because she is selfish.) Would it be better to ask White Dove to go away with her? She can’t take the boys away from Harold, but if she stays she feels she’ll die a slow death. There are too many memories. She is devastated and feels guilty about her son Willy’s death.  She doesn’t fully recover from depression. Should I have her take medication for it?  (Remember Lily has to be an actor not a reactor.) Write it both ways—her leaving alone and another version of White Dove going with her.

     If she leaves without White Dove, she’ll ask White Dove to write to her about the boy(s). (This was before I decided that Lily would have two sons, Luke and Willy, instead of three as I had planned in the beginning.)

March 23, 1996

            Is the reason I’m having a dry spell because I can’t seem to write the chapter when Lily abandons Harold and her children? (It’s after the fire scene.)  Will the reader like Lily if she leaves her family?  If I have her family send her away instead, then she is a reactor and not an actor.  What am I to do?  I could have them send her to a TB sanitarium.  She won’t arrive, but get off the train and disappear.  I need to do some research on TB during that era.  What if when Willy dies her father and horse also die or even her grandmother? It is too much sadness for Lily.  She is depressed.  Maybe Harold sends her somewhere and that is where she meets someone else—someone who fills her needs for a time.  The whole theme of the book is Lily searching until she finds God’s forgiveness and the gift of eternal life.

April 1996

            More plotting ideas:

     Lily will have several losses in a short time (three years or less): Willy, her horse, her grandmother and her father has a stroke; he is paralyzed and can’t speak, maybe bedridden also.  There is a reversal of rolls, now Lily will be the strong one.  She will nurse her father.  She will talk to him.  I need to show a close relationship.  During this time she will confess her unhappiness with her marriage.  Her father can only listen.  She will hold his hand, feed him, smooth his hair, etc.  When her father dies, Lily goes into a long depression.  Harold will eventually send Lily away to a ranch or an inn (someplace for Lily to recover from her depression).  This is the place Lily finds Sven.  She eventually seeks a divorce from Harold.  It will be a nasty divorce.  When Harold realizes that he has lost Lily, he will not let her take the children with her.  There are arguments.  During one of these arguments, and unwittingly, Lily will reveal that Harold is not Luke’s real father. 

            During the divorce trial Luke will be called into the judge’s chambers and asked if he wants to live with his mother or his father. Luke feels he can be of comfort to his mother.  He will be living with Lily and a witness to the accidental shooting of Sven.

            Now, I feel good about these plot changes from the original synopsis.  I feel the reader will be able to forgive Lily for leaving Harold if she doesn’t abandon her children but fights to keep them.  I also think the reader will like Lily’s compassion for her father during his time of need.  I sure hope so anyway. 

            These plot changes will help me write Part II of the book and possibly even finish this long project someday.

June 15, 1996

            After being unable to write chapter 19 (when James returns from WWI temporarily blind) I now feel ready to tackle the next chapter.

            James will return depressed and not want to be a burden to his family. He doesn’t want to see anyone except Tess.

            Scenes: Tess and James discussing marriage.  James will not marry anyone while he is blind.  Tess’ family has money (they own a lumber mill).  She will find a good blind

school in New York or possibly California.  He will not be a burden to his family.  The school will teach him how to function.  Could James become an asset to his family financially? 

            During this time Lily will be flat on her back hemorrhaging and staying at her grandmother’s house.  She gazes out the window hoping to get a glimpse of James.  Her grandmother will take a cake to the Conti family and Lily will learn all the news of James’ return from her grandmother.  During this time White Dove will bring Luke to visit his mother every day.

October 26, 1996

     A quote taken from How to Enjoy Writing, by Janet Isaac Asimov, pg. 149, 1st paragraph “…the days of Victorian niceties and repression.” This is a great definition of the era I’m trying to write about.

September 18, 1997

I’m discouraged with writing and teaching. I haven’t had many sales and my classes are cancelled due to lack of interest.

November 26, 1997

            Possible Plot Changes:

            Will Tess get TB? Go to a sanitarium? Die?

            When Lily’s murder trial goes badly, White Dove will tell James that Luke is his son. James never stopped loving Lily. He will fight for her. Of course by then Lily has found the Lord—this is the main point of the novel—saved by grace—sins forgiven.  Would it be better if this happens when Lily is stabbed and fighting for her life that James comes into the picture? Or when she is younger?

January 15, 1997

            Judy Pella did a critique of Lily in 1996.  Maybe the reason I’m unable to finish the book is because I’m miss directed. Should James come to Lily’s rescue when she is in prison?  Where is Tess at this time?  Will Lily still be stabbed?  Would it be better if James came to her rescue during the trial?  Will Lily tell James about her salvation experience? 

Aug. 30, 1997

            Think about Scarlet in Gone with the Wind. She was weak in the hospital scene and ran away.  She was weak when Melanie gave birth, but Scarlet found strength. She ran away again when she ran to Tara and wanted to be taken care of by her mother.  That’s when she found strength to take care of everyone else. That strength came from within.

            Judy (Pella) advised to have James and Lily get together. I cannot have minor characters doing more interesting things than Lily, but of course James is a major character. I’m not sure if I want to go this direction.

            White Dove will be a very important character in Lily’s salvation—not her father, grandmother or Agatha. They will plant seeds, but it is White Dove who will witness to Lily.

Published in: on February 18, 2013 at 10:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Blog 4


An Unedited Journal

June 11, 1986

I cried when I wrote the last scene of the book. Now I have a goal to aim for—my writing is a journey to the end. I have the map and I know where I’m going.

June 1986

Lily’s life has to wait . . . Melanie and Warren’s wedding— Kathy home from Germany on leave. (Melanie and Kathy are two of my daughters.)

July 7, 1986    

“What He desires that he does.  For he will complete what he appoints for me.” —Job 23:13b – 14a. After being on vacation for two weeks this Scripture verse inspires me—I’m ready to get busy on Lily.

I tried to rewrite the storm scene (Lily chapter 8), yet I’m still not satisfied with it.  I’ll set it aside for a gestation time. (The storm scene comes before Lily marries Harold.)

August 9, 1986

Why I think God wants Lily written: “. . . I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”—Matt 9:13b

I began the day with my personal devotions, reading Psalm 34.

An editor made nice comments about my writing.  With my prayers and receiving positive comments I had an excellent day working on Lily—sorting, filing, and organizing.  (64 pages times 200 words per page equals 12,800 words up to and including the wedding scene.)

August 21, 1986

My personal devotions seem to fuel my writing.  Today, while reading Springs in the Valley and Psalm 20, I was enlightened about the fire lily. I know what I want to do with the conversion scene—die to new life—butterfly.  Surrender.  Lily will read a prayer written in the margin of her mother’s Bible, “Use my unborn child for your glory.”

September 20, 1986

I drove out toward Capetown.  I parked on top of a cliff and sat in my car—overlooking the town and beyond to the Pacific.  It isn’t as pretty this time of year.  The hills are brown instead of green, and I don’t see the sheep, lambs or cattle. The river is only a thin muddy ribbon winding down to the sea, with driftwood strewn along the river bed.  But it is a gorgeous day—a gift from God.  I’m free.  Praise God.

My purpose in coming out here is to write Lily. So I didn’t bring a book or any writer’s magazines to distract me.  I still believe Lily is God’s book. 

October 29, 1986

Today, during my daily devotions, this Bible verse jumped out at me.  “And now, go, write it before them on a tablet, and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come as a witness for ever.“—Isaiah 30:8. I’ve always felt that Lily is a tool to share with others about the saving grace of God.

September 1987

My purpose was to create a character who was self-centered and a sinner, to show God’s grace—he saves sinners, not perfect people. I must be accomplishing my goal, because my friend Deanna Enos said, “A lily is beautiful, but it sure does stink.”

1987& 1988

I wrote How to be a Published Writer, published by Fruition Publications, Inc., fall 1989. The project consists of a 90 minutes script (cassette tape) and the workbook to go with it. It stretched me as a writer.

May 1988

Read The Thornbirds to see how the author handled pacing. I loved the book, but still not sure I understand pacing.

May 28, 1988

Began work on Lily again—sorting, filing, and reading research and notes. (After long periods of not working on Lily, and because I have poor recall, I need to go over everything to refresh my memory before I can start writing again.) Begin writing ASAP.

When faced with a mountain while writing climb over it, walk around it, or build a tunnel through it.

June 4, 1989

Entering Lily on computer and working on Lindsey’s Choice (a middle grade novel) at the same time.


Completed Part I and a good start on Part II of Lily.

The scenes I saw and wrote first were the storm scene with James and Lily, William and Agatha when Lily is about three years old, the prologue, and chapters 1 and 2 (Lily’s birth and Rebecca’s funeral). 

Some scenes I worked in later by weaving them into the chapters I had already written. I needed to show how Lily got everything she wanted as a child including her horse, Fury; the scene when Lily lost Agatha’s ring; and being sent away to boarding school.

 It’s hard to work on Lily while holding down full time jobs—manager at Sunrise Books for Children and later the manager of Fortuna Floors. 

 September 1991

 This is the first day of the rest of my life. God has given me another chance. I organized my files for three hours. I feel like I’m really pushing myself because everything depends on the next two months. I’ve given myself this amount of time to make it as a full-time writer. I have to remember God is in control—no matter if I work for one hour or 24 hours. If this is His will, it will happen.

1991 and 1992

 Lily was put on hold.  Researched and wrote a book on LM Montgomery, Dear Diary.  I worked on other projects and had between 25 and 100 freelance submissions circulating in the mail. 

Wrote curriculum assignments and began work on two books Teagan (a contemporary novel) and Amigos (a high-lo book) as well as taught three classes. I received a call from a former student, Leo Muzzy. He sold his first piece to The San Francisco Examiner. He thanked me and added he couldn’t have done it without me.

I entered Lindsey’s Choice into the computer.

 Our first grandson, Ben, was born on September 2, 1992. What a blessing.

January 1993

I made minor rewrites on Lily, per Nick Harrison and Melanie’s suggestions, chapters 8-18. Yet, I wasn’t ready to attack any major rewrites at this time.

February 1, 1993

 Once I’d finished the minor rewrites I had a block as to what to do next.  So I didn’t do anything.

The following are questions I asked myself before writing chapter 18. What do I want to do with this chapter?  What kind of scenes—with White Dove (Lily’s mixed blood friend) and Running Cloud (White Dove’s mother)?  Would Lily become deathly ill, but still be pregnant?  Would she moan for James while ill? Would she be taken to her grandmother’s house?  Would White Dove take care of Luke (Lily’s son)?  Would White Dove become attached to Luke?  Would White Dove and Luke’s relationship help Lily leave her children with White Dove in the future?  Would White Dove never have her own children? How would Harold react to Lily leaving?  Lily’s grandmother is too old to take care of the children when Lily leaves. Harold is unable to care for the children because of his work schedule.  He will visit them often.

March 3, 1994

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I’ve worked on my favorite writing project.  How does this happen? 

I spent 1993 learning a new job as Manager of Fortuna Floors and taking a correspondence course in interior design.  My writing went by the way side.  If only I could make a living at this craft, I think I’d be so happy, but what do I know? Maybe I wouldn’t.

I want to work on Chapter 18 today. What do I want to do in this chapter?  There has been the train scene.  It’s important as far as something happening.  Do I need a quiet scene, or a conflict scene?  Probably some conflict, but what?  More time will pass in this chapter.  Do I want to add a third son?  How will I show Lily’s discontent?  Will there be a confrontation with James?  Will he have nothing to do with Lily?  She won’t tell him about Luke.  Will he never know that Luke is his son?  This chapter will lead up to the fire scene.  What is happening with William, Agatha, Anna, and White Dove?  Should any of them be in this chapter?  I need to review all of Part II to regain my perspective.  My characters need to come alive so readers will care about them and what happens to them. 

March 4, 1994

I have writer’s block—not knowing which direction to take, or if I’ve taken the wrong direction.  I think this could be more of a weaving chapter after I write the scenes that are clearer to me.

Would there be a scene with James and Lily?  Would Tess be there? (Tess and James were married after he returned from the war.)  Would it be a whole chapter?  Is it too much for this chapter to have a meeting between James and Lily, a scene showing Lily’s discontent and giving birth to Jonathan? (This is before I decided that Lily will only have two sons—Luke and Willy—not three.)

For now I’m going to put this aside and concentrate on submitting other projects.

March 17, 1994

I took my mother to Trinidad for lunch to celebrate her birthday yesterday.  It was a nice sunny day on the Northern California Coast.

Today, I spent two hours at Fortuna High learning the Lotus 1-2-3 program to upgrade my bookkeeping skills for a possible job.  After lunch and reading on the deck, I entered five pages of research into the computer on Part III of Lily where she meets Sven at the Bradford Inn and other scenes—shooting, trial, prison.   

1994 Recap

I experienced another difficult year without reaching my goals and received oodles of rejections. On a more positive note, I did enjoy writing a children’s book review column for The Humboldt Beacon.

Published in: on February 13, 2013 at 12:15 am  Leave a Comment  


Post #3

The Writing of Lily

A Journal

July 4, 1983

In preparation to write my novel my goals include reading In the Land of the Grasshopper Song, start library and museum research and read one novel similar to what I want to write, Gone with the Wind. Try to reach these goals by July 31, 1983, including some newspaper research then start writing.

June 1984

Because this project was put aside for about a year it was necessary to reread what I’d written, organize and rethink the scenes.

 I rewrote chapter 1, a scene with William and Rebecca (Lily’s parents). He knew he had fulfilled Rebecca’s desires and dreams just as she had his . . . . He brushed his lips across her damp curls and whispered, “My beloved Rebecca.” (Lily pg. 5)     

October 4, 1984

I wrote and revised the prologue with Rebecca and William. He looked up and saw a lovely vision standing before him. He recalled his thoughts from the day before. This is the woman who will be my wife (Lily pg. xiii). I wrote this scene to familiarize myself with Lily’s parents, yet I want to keep it in the book. Hopefully, I’ve fine-tuned the prologue.

March 3, 1985         

I completed the prologue and chapters 1-3. . . . she decided she would get that horse one way or the other. And she would find out why her father was acting so strangely. (Lily pg. 16) I want to show Lily’s determination.

June 1985

 I’m working on another revision of chapter 1. Jane Peart, my mentor, advised me to start the book when Lily is 16 and use my original chapters as flash backs. I’m not sure at this stage in my writing ability I’m able to successfully do it, but I’ll try.

 I’ve made a major decision—I will follow Jane’s advice and start the book with Lily at 17. She leaves a church picnic to secretly meet James Conti. (James is forbidden to Lily; therefore she wants him all the more.) Later Lily overhears a conversation that James enlisted to fight in WWI, which infuriates her.

I still don’t know if this is the right decision.  I like the chapters when she is a child and I don’t know how to weave them into the book as flash backs.

February 11, 1986

I have three non-verbal characters in this book, James, Harold (Lily’s husband) and Anna.  How can I possibly write a book with three similar characters?  Can I leave them as is or do I need to make some changes?  James will use actions instead of dialogue; he’ll always be doing something.  When Lily asks him a question he’ll respond with a sound like “Um.”  Lily asks, “Is that a yes or a no?”

What about Harold? Actually I don’t hear James, Harold or Anna’s voices like I do Lily’s, Aunt Agatha’s, Williams and Rebecca’s.  Maybe I need to write some scenes with these characters speaking.  I did hear Anna’s voice in the birth scene.  Maybe I don’t have them in the right scenes yet.  HELP!

February 1986

I researched Victorian homes, furniture, and wedding history which will be useful in writing Lily’s story and I’m glad I enjoy this part of writing a historical novel.

March 20, 1986

I am writing the wedding scene.  I needed to know what Lily would wear as a bride, what kind of music was played in 1918 and the customs of that era.  I also had to know how Lily felt about her wedding and marriage to Harold.  All these things have to be sorted out in my mind before I can get this chapter down on paper.

I’d like to be able to write a chapter a day—but for me it just doesn’t work that way.  It comes so slowly, and life happens—interrupting my writing.

“Whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message?  Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast?  For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.”—Isaiah 28:9, 10. “. . . striving with all the energy which he mightily inspires within me.”— Colossians 1:29. These Bible verses put the writing of Lily in perspective for me.

March 25, 1986

I wrote the scene of them planning the wedding. (Chapter 11—Lily, William, Anna and Agatha are in the scene.) I see and hear Anna in the pre-wedding scene. Anna took the piping hot cinnamon rolls from the oven, arranged them on a plate, and placed them on the table. “Harold will be a good provider.”

“Lily needs more than a provider. She can’t do anything except look pretty and connive to get her own way,” Agatha said honestly. (Lily pg. 46)

“My gown will be a Grecian style . . . and I’ll wear a wreath of orange blossoms in my hair.” (Lily pg. 48)  . . . Lily looked triumphant as she stood at the other side of the kitchen door. I’ve won. I’ll not be sent away to boarding school, Auntie dear. (Lily pg. 49)

March 27, 1986

At first I was pleased with the first few pages of the wedding preparations—now I feel I haven’t accomplished what needs to be done. It’s constant revision, revision, revision for me.

Published in: on February 5, 2013 at 6:48 am  Leave a Comment