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  

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