Blog #10

The Writing of Lily

An Unedited Journal

(Blog #1 Starts in January with the Introduction)

January 30, 2001

I’m disappointed with my writing yesterday.  I was so tired.  I only worked three and a half hours at my Children’s Ministry job Sunday, but it wipes me out.  I always seem to need to rest on Mondays. 

Before going to bed late last night I reread what I’d written in this journal as well as the little I’d written and did some rewriting.  I think this may be a good practice every night to go to bed thinking about Lily, so my subconscious can work while I’m asleep.

Now to get down to today’s writing, and hopefully have enough energy to do some more cleaning in the laundry room as well. 

Later: still not happy with my output.  It just doesn’t flow. There are too many questions to be answered.  It’s 1:30.  I guess I’ll go clean the laundry room. 

Even later: I’m not happy with what I wrote today, not as much as I had hoped to accomplish on chapter 21.

I did some more cleaning in the laundry room, but still not finished.  There is so much junk collected over the years, 23 years to be exact. (I had a huge laundry room and I’m somewhat of a packrat. I not only saved personal things, but from my Children’s Ministry job as well.).

February 9, 2001

I attended the Children’s Pastors Conference in San Diego for several days, and took six volunteers from my Children’s Ministry staff with me.  It was great.  Now it’s back to Lily.

Today I’ll enter some of a chapter from The Prodigal Daughter by Jeffrey Archer.  There is a chapter that begins with telling the reader that this chapter is going to consists of funerals.  Lily will experience grief when several of her loved ones die.  I need to get the feel of that grief chapter.

February 10, 2001

I read chapter 21 to Evergreen Writers. 

February 19, 2001

Still doing a little revision on chapter 21 and trying to work on chapter 22.  It’s a struggle.

Later: some of the writing is okay, but I need more to complete the chapter.  I really want to finish this chapter and start on chapter 23 by the end of the month, so I can keep on schedule.

James is quiet.  Why? Tess is unable to read him.  He has a side she will never be a part of, but how do I show this?  His thoughts?  Can I do that?  I hope so.

February 20, 2001

I’m still trying to finish up chapter 22.  There is too much telling and not enough showing.  It is so hard.

March 8, 2001

I’m still trying to get started on chapter 23 and am not happy with chapter 22.  Although I’d like to stick with it, I just might set it aside and do some marketing and submitting of other projects.

I’m suffering with a cold and feel icky.  I was a presenter at the Christian Education conference at Faith Center (Eureka, CA). I did two sessions on my workshop, “How to be an Unforgettable Teacher.”  They paid me.  I felt validated.  I like feeling validated.

On March 14 I’ll be doing a job shadowing for two high school students.  I’m looking forward to it.  Now I must get to work.

March 10, 2001

Read chapter 22 to Evergreen Writers today.  It moves too quickly.  It really needs work.  What if James and Tess stay in Boston?  Get Married in Laurel Springs?  What is the conflict?  This is so hard.  What to do?  What to do?

March 17, 2001

The Job Shadowing Program wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped it would be.  I displayed most of my published credits and the two students didn’t seem to be impressed.  They yawned often.  I think they were interested in the subject, just tired.  Probably not enough sleep the night before.  Also, I had writer’s block on chapter 23 which was frustrating.

On Thursday night, March 15, I had a break through.  I decided to work on chapter 23—the fire scene and I was able to write two pages.  I am feeling much better now.  I think the reason chapter 22 would not come is because I may be misdirected and need to rethink that part of the book.

Now, today, Saturday, I’ll try to do some rewriting on the fire scene.

April 3, 2001

I did another rewrite on the fire scene.  I think it is ready to read to Evergreen Writers.

On March 31 I did the Seventh Annual Christian Education Appreciation Dinner at the Scotia Inn (Scotia, California). I spent most of the week prior to the dinner preparing for it. Honoring the volunteers at the dinner is always a highlight of my Children’s Ministry job.

Now, I will either go back and write chapter 22 or go on and write chapter 24.

April 8, 2001

Doing some thinking about inserting a scene with White Dove’s need to support herself with her art and find a place (studio) on Main Street, next to the blind school. How convenient that will be for Lily to possibly run into James.

April 9, 2001

Wrote two pages today on the scene before the fire scene; the chapter (22) where White Dove opens her studio and Tess and James return to Laurel Springs.

. . . Lily stood in the middle of the street, holding Willy in one arm and Luke by the hand. They watched as the sign White Dove’s Indian Art Studio was hoisted and attached to the front of Whit’s Dove’s new business . . . .

Lily dropped the newspaper and slumped deeper into the chair. So James married Tess. (Lily pg. 99)

I did a rewrite of the chapter titles adding some dates of scenes.

I had writer’s block in March and it is so good to be able to put some words on paper and see the characters act out what needs to be accomplished in the chapters I am working on now.


I finished chapter 22—White Dove’s studio and Tess and James return to Laurel Springs.  James sight restored.

April 10

Completed a short chapter of deaths—Fury, Anna, and now I’m working on William’s stroke.

I can’t believe the roll I’m on.  I’m writing twice as much as I usually do when I get a breakthrough.

April 14, 2001

Read chapters 22, 23, and 24 to the Evergreen Writers today.  I made the suggested changes.  Still need to do some expanding of scenes for pace and— now— forward.

April 16, 2001

I’ll have to put Lily on hold for a while; Melanie (daughter) and the boys are coming tomorrow for a few days.  I have an assignment for The Beacon and one for Standard Publishing (seven devotions).  And I need to catch up on my hours with Children’s Ministry job. 

While doing these other things I hope to keep at the back of my mind the possibility of Lily questioning God why?  Why Willy’s death? Why her wonderful father is paralyzed? White Dove will tell Lily how even Jesus questioned God—Father, why have you forsaken me? 

Lily will still be angry with God.

Published in: on March 26, 2013 at 5:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Blog #9

The Writing of Lily

An Unedited Journal

December 5, 2000

Busy, busy, busy with my Children’s Ministry job and organizing a book signing with Jane Peart, Judy Pella and myself at the new Christian bookstore in Fortuna, ShiningLight Bookstore.  I also wrote several features for the Beacon.  The New Song Children’s Christmas Musical was great with a luncheon for the adopt-a-grandparent program which I helped with.

Now, for my writing career: Betsy, from the Perkins School for the Blind, is mailing me information.  I think Helen Keller went to the school.  I’m still not sure if I want James to go to the school or not? I need my characters to talk to me and help me write this book.

December 9, 2000

Read chapter 19—James is home from WWI and an offer from Frank O’Shea to build a blind school. “I’ve donated some flat land just east of town, and funds are being raised for scholarships for students to attend without being a financial burden to their families. Building of a dormitory, classrooms, and a dining hall are due to start while Tess is in Boston. The school will be named after my dear departed wife, rest her soul. It will be the Kathleen O’Shea School for the Blind.” (Lily pg. 87)

December 31, 2000

I’m organizing for the New Year; I always enjoy a fresh start. I deleted old files from my computer, set some goals and did my income taxes, etc.  I think 2001 is going to be
a very good year.

January 9, 2001

Reading reams of research from Perkin’s School for the Blind.  It’s a treasure— answering my questions and helping me get on with writing this book.

I think I need to go back and rewrite the scene with Jo and James in France and insert the rehabilitation that is available to him whether he takes it or not, yet I’m still not sure about this.

Later: I did some revision—the scene with James and Jo in France, and the scene on the back porch with Tess, Frank O’Shea and James discussing a blind school.  I also wrote the first page of chapter 20—Lily reading about the opening of the blind school in Laurel Springs and her labor pains signaling the birth of her second child (Willy).  I’m on my way this year.  If I can only stick with it to the end—

January 11, 2001

I did a little more work on chapter 20.  Lily feels guilty that Willy is so sickly and vows to love him until the day she dies.   It will be a turning point for her to become a better mother and wife. 

“Dear God, if you exist, please don’t let my baby die. I’m sorry for what I did. Please forgive me. Don’t let my baby suffer for my mistake.”

Anna pleaded, “Lily, you need to get back to bed.”

“I’ve been in bed for months. You don’t understand. No one understands. . .”

(Lily pg. 91)

January 14, 2001

I read a couple of pages of chapter 20 to Evergreen Writers on Saturday.  I’m still telling, not showing.  I think I have a better plot idea.  Lily will not be beaten.  She’ll still think about getting together with James. 

January 25, 2001

(Daughter) Kathy’s surgery today.  Two fibroid tumors removed.

I really feel good about chapter 20 today, Willy’s birth and Lily’s change in character.  I hope this change will help the reader like Lily better.  She has been so selfish in the past.  Hopefully, I’ve put her back in control.

January 29, 2001

I cleaned the laundry room on Saturday.  Only did one side.  Ugh!  I probably have two more days of work.  Why do I save everything?

I sat down and tried to ask myself questions on how chapter 21 will go.  Set the scene.  I think Tess and James will marry in Boston.  This will not deter Lily from still wanting James.

Something I asked myself, or my muse: Chapter 21 will be wedding bells for James and Tess and Jonathan’s birth? (Lily’s third son Jonathan was deleted from the book).  Tess and James will marry at the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston.  I called a priest at Humboldt State University today to see if a priest could marry a couple at the school.  He said they would have to get special permission from a bishop.  How will Lily react to the marriage?  She will be even more determined. After all she was willing to divorce Harold to marry James. Why wouldn’t she think James would do the same thing to Tess?

How will the chapter end?  James and Tess boarding the train headed for Laurel Springs?

Set the stage.  Where is it?  What do I see?  Who are the actors?  Lily will settle down to the life of a wife and mother.  She is changed.  White Dove will need to make a living.

An idea for later in the book:  A scene with White Dove and Lily: “He’ll never be truly happy being a teacher.  He’s an outdoorsman.  He loves animals, not people.  He’ll shrivel up and die.  Tess can never hold him.  She has him on a tether, but he’ll break away.  I know him. He’ll bolt.  And when he does he’ll be mine.”

Published in: on March 18, 2013 at 11:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Blog #8

The Writing of Lily

An Unedited Journal

June 20, 2000


July 10, 2000

Sorted through entire box of Lily—research, files of scenes, suggested rewrites, etc.  Now I have a stack of rewrite suggestions to go through and decide if I want to do them or not.

July 11, 2000

I started with Judy Pella’s critique of 1996.  Page by page making some changes from the beginning of Lily.  I’m feeling good about this new start, again.  Will this be the jump start I need to finish this project?

August 6, 2000

I’m working on minor rewrites.  Today I plan to expand chapter seven. . . . she felt miserable. I’m not a child anymore. The only thing that kept her from exploding was what she held inside: the secret about meeting James at the cabin . . . (Lily pg. 30)

I want to stick with this book until it is completed.

I’m having a hard time grieving Daddy’s death.  I am moody, antsy, and on edge.  It seems like every other day I’m down in the dumps.  I find the days I’m at work at my Children’s Ministry job are better for me.

August 7, 2000

Not sure if chapter seven still needs more work or not.

Ready to start minor rewrites on chapter ten.

Today’s mail consisted of a copy of Sept. issue of the Writer magazine.  My “Three Step Query Letter” piece is published in it, and an assignment from Standard Publishing to write seven devotions.  It’s a good mail day.

August 12, 2000

I shared with Evergreen Writers a rewrite of Lily and James first meeting at the cabin. It needs work, especially if I use Deanna Enos’ suggestions.

September 9, 2000

I read the prologue to Evergreen Writers.  Not too much work needed.  Praise the Lord!

September 12, 2000

This has been somewhat of a difficult summer with Daddy’s death, moving Mother back to Fortuna, and moving my Children’s Ministry office.  I feel stressed.

We spent Labor Day weekend at Melanie and Warren’s in Solvang.  Saw their new home (built in 1958—a very good year, because Ed and I were married June 14, 1958).  We celebrated our grandson Ben’s eighth birthday.

Now it’s back to work. I entered rewrite suggestions from Evergreen Writers.

September 19, 2000

Continued to rewrite and go forward— just completed rewrites on chapters 11 and 12—Lily’s engagement to Harold.

September 30, 2000

I’m trying to consistently rewrite Lily.  I had a good day today with some revision of James and Jo in France.  I’ve really been struggling rewriting this chapter, and it still needs work, but at least I wrote.

October 6, 2000

I’m working on chapter 20, James’ homecoming.  Will he confess his love for Tess or is it more like gratitude for her letters?  A school for the blind in New York?

I’ll set it aside and think while submitting other writing projects. 

October 17, 2000

I read a rewrite of chapter 18, James and Jo in France, to Evergreen Writers.  It is better, but still needs work.  I have Tess confessing her love for James and I don’t know if James loves her or he is just grateful for the letters she sent to him.  Ed had an interesting comment.  He said, “Maybe he doesn’t know he doesn’t love her.”

Should I have James and Tess work together before love blossoms?

November 11, 2000

Today is the Evergreen Writer’s Group and I don’t have a new chapter to read.  Ugh!

After the meeting I will read the manuscript starting with the scene where James receives letters from Tess in France and see if he has strong feelings for her—enough to marry her.  Or will he?

November 14, 2000

A breakthrough!  Praise the Lord!  While getting ready to take my mother to the foot doctor my muse was at work, and I thought James will not go to New York to a blind school.  Tess will go to learn how to operate a blind school and her father will open one in Laurel Springs.  Aha!  I think I’ve got it!

Published in: on March 11, 2013 at 10:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Blog #7

The Writing of Lily

An Unedited Journal

October 5, 1999

            I am physically tired from my Children’s Ministry job.  I really hate this aging process.  I’m tired all of the time.  I need two days off together to feel like I’ve really had a day off.  The first day is a nothing day. I can’t think or seem to function. All I want to do is watch TV.  I usually feel better on the second day and am ready to go back to work on the third day.  I am so out of shape.  I started the day with a walk and felt so sluggish.  Maybe it’s because all I did is lay around yesterday.  This getting old is for the pits.

            Now that I’ve got all that out—what can I do to make this day productive?  I have an assignment to write for Pathways to God (a devotional booklet).The theme is to be holy.  Now I must think of an example.  I just wrote on the same theme for Devotion, so I can’t use the same example.  Maybe I’ll try to work on Lily while I ponder being holy.


            I wrote a little on the Bradford Inn scene with Sven and Lily at the tavern.

October 15, 1999

            Wow!  I hope a breakthrough. 

            I wrote to Lily yesterday: Okay, Lily, I really want to write your story—so what gives?  Why am I struggling?

            God will write Lily in His own time.

            Then I read Blueprint for Writing by Rachel Friedman Ballon.  Excellent advice on page 45:

            “DO NOTHING–Don’t write anything down on paper.  Live with your idea for a while.  Think about it 24 hours a day.  Let it germinate.  Mull it over, sleep with it, think about it before you commit any words to paper.”

            I have for about 20 years.  I think it’s time to deliver.  It’s like being pregnant for 20 years.  I think it’s time to get it down on paper.

            The problem may be that my characters are flat or one dimensional.  So one day while at the Benbow Inn this week I read about developing characters.  A rounded character is like a sculpture.  The reader can walk around it and see all the angles unlike a flat character like a picture.  As well as what a character looks like the reader must know how the character feels, his or her history, what they sound like, what motivates them, and their behavior or actions.

            Something about Sven:  They say that eyes are the window of the soul. This is not true of Sven. His soft baby blue eyes do not reveal the jealous and brutal man that emerges when he is drunk.

            Back to Blueprint for Writing and my thoughts: I really care about the story and the characters; my burning desire is to let readers know that sinners are saved by

God’s grace; my dad influences my life. I have his genes. I am stubborn (persistent) and I love children. I am a responsible and trustworthy person; My experiences to write:  writing, bodysurfing, 40’s, 50’s, parenting, daydreaming, California, Santa Monica, feelings, high school, Christian Education; What I am passionate about is the story I am working on at the time, and Lily.

            I think I must love all of the characters, not just Lily.

March 1, 2000

            My writing career is not going well—not much happening. I’m glad I enjoy my Children’s Ministry job.

May 9, 2000

            I’m at a crossroads with my writing. I want to set goals, yet I feel under stress with my Children’s Ministry job; I think I need to take it one day at a time and not put pressure on myself with deadlines.

May 15, 2000

A good writing day.

May 20, 2000

I spent November 1999 through April 2000 working on Amigos for the publisher, Kids In Between.  Put it in the mail on Melanie’s birthday, April 24.  I’m somewhat in limbo, not knowing which direction to take. Since then I’ve sold two pieces to the Humboldt Beacon and one, “A Writer’s Conference Can Change Your Life,” to Inkspot—an electronic writer’s publication.  So I am feeling better about a few little sales. Now what do I do— more submissions or concentrate on Lily?

I sure am enjoying Elizabeth Adler’s books. I just finished The Property of a Lady.  It’s excellent. I wish I could write like she does.

June 3, 2000

I have just completed putting what I have of Lily on disks into my new computer as a complete manuscript.  It consists of 20 chapters with chapter titles of the rest of the book.  I am feeling very good about this progress. If I can ever complete the book and get it published, what a day that will be.  So far I think I’ve been working on this project for almost 17 years. 

Today Evergreen Writers met at my house for lunch—Christine Sackey, Sharon Brown, and Jean Murray.

Later, the same day, I put what I have so far in this journal into my new computer (emachines). It is a total of 17 pages and covers many years.  I will print it out.  Read it and go from there.  I will also write a paragraph on each character to get reacquainted with them. 

I’m feeling very good about the progress I’m making.

June 5, 2000

Still feeling good about continued input of information into computer, organizing chapters with about a paragraph each of what still needs to be written.  (Now I have a road map!  Yippee!

June 12, 2000

Some of my best writing is done while traveling.  While driving from Reno to Fortuna, California (my home) I decided to have Lily rescue her children in the fire scene rather than someone else—making Lily an actor rather than a reactor.  She will still feel a tremendous amount of guilt when Willy parishes.

I put character descriptions into computer today.

Published in: on March 4, 2013 at 11:48 pm  Leave a Comment