Writing as You Go vs. Having an Outline

For my first book, I knew how I wanted the story to begin. My kids had been watching Cinderella over and over. I started asking myself what if questions. The story got stuck in my brain to the point that I could sleep at night. So I just sat down and started to type it out on my computer. But I didn’t know how I wanted it to end. After what was in my head was on paper, I had to decide what else I wanted to happen in the story and what the big climax was going to be. To do that I kind of did an outline/map kind of thing.

The next book I started was going to be the second book in the series. For it, I wanted an outline or synopsis which was a good thing. Then, life seemed to get in the way and I didn’t get back to it for a few years. Actually, I haven’t yet gotten back to it. I started another book that I thought I would make my third book but now it will be my second book and my second book will be my third book. Confused? I know. I’m sorry about that.

I’m telling you all of that just to tell you about the short story I’m writing. It started out as a thought. I don’t remember what inspired it, but just like my first book I just started writing. It is set in the Medieval Era. It is about a young lady who tries to murder a young man she believes is responsible for the loss of her home. She finds herself back in her home, which now belongs to him, and given the chance to live there and run the keep as his wife. Yet, she refuses to marry him and he refuses to let her leave. He is convinced he can change her mind. Will he? I don’t know yet. I haven’t gotten to the end yet. Unlike the other stories rolling around in my head, I knew what I wanted to happen in the beginning, middle, and the end. So, yes I do know if he will, but I’m not going to tell you.

The story is written in first person. The main character’s name is Anne. She was fun to create. The man she want’s to hate is Sir Peter. Now that I’m at the end of the story I’ve been debating with myself. If been considering making the story into a book. There isn’t anything spiritual in the story and I really want there to be. Plus, I would like to develop Anne and Sir Peter’s character a little bit more. So, with that in mind, I’m giving you an excerpt from the story. Hopefully you can tell me if you think the story should stay a short story or deserves to be longer.

Thomas only took a few steps into the war room. “Sir Peter will be with you in just a few moments.” Then he turned and was gone.

I roamed the room. Military weapons hung on the wall. The table was lined with swords and crossbows. As I slowly made my way around the room, I noticed a small knife with rubies incrusted in its hilt. I picked it up to examine it closer.

Behind me, I heard the door open. I whirled around and hid the knife in the folds of my skirt.

Sir Peter stared, frozen in the entrance to the room. I didn’t know what to think. Could he see the knife in my hand?

I gripped the knife. I wasn’t going to use it, but I didn’t want him to know I had been looking at it. “You wanted to speak to me?”

He cleared his throat, “Yes.” He walked closer to me, his eyes taking in every inch of me. It made me blush. I looked down at my dress to make sure I wasn’t exposing too much flesh. As far as I could tell, there was nothing to draw his eyes.

I looked up to find his blue eyes boring into mine. Once he stood in front of me, he reached out his hand and ran it up my arm. Goose bumps rose on my arms. I pulled away and lowered my eyes.

He dropped his hand. “I’m sorry. Your dress is lovely.” He turned away and braced his hands on the table.

I watched him. His eyes seemed to be looking over the weapons on the table. I worried he would notice the knife missing. “What did you want to speak to me about?”

He smiled, still looking at the table’s contents. “I want you to feel free to run this keep as though it were your home; direct the servants, order the meals, and all the other things that comes from running a keep.”

I was about to tell him that I had run this keep since I was fourteen, but he turned to me still smiling. My heart jumped.

He placed his hands on my shoulders, “I think these swords are to heavy for you to lift.” I frowned. He slowly pulled me toward him. I placed my hand on his stomach, trying to keep the distance. I was distracted by the hard muscles under his shirt.

His voice drew my eyes to his while my heart pounded in my ears. “I have a ruby incrusted knife. It is very sharp. It my be sharper than any of these swords.”

He was drawing me even closer. I could feel his warmth and smell his scent; linseed oil nad leather. His lips were coming closer to mine. His breath whispered across my lips, “It reminds me of you, both beautiful and deadly.”

I need you honest opinion. Should this story stay a short story or become a novel? If you’re a writer, what do you do to get your story on paper?

3 Reasons to Use Your God Given Gifts

This past Sunday, my pastor preached on using your gifts. Of course, it is that time of year when they are looking for members to teach Sunday School, but what about our gifts outside of our church family. I’ve been thinking about this, not just this past Sunday, but for the past few months. Basically, I’m taking what he said and applying it to my ability to tell a story. Well, ok, I don’t really have proof yet that I can tell a story, except for the two chapters I’ve posted here on my blog. The other writers in my writing group seem to enjoying my writing so I’m just going to go with the fantasy that I’m a gifted story-teller.

As followers of Christ, we have all been given a gift. Some of us have been given more than one. The bible verses the sermon was basted on came from 1 Peter 4:10-11. Here are the verses in the NIV translation:

10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

So, the reasons to use your gifts (mine is writing Christian Romance.)

  1. Because there is a purpose to God’s gift to you.

Ultimately, the reason you have been given a gift is to bring glory to God. Not so you can get recognition, praise, or any other glorification. It’s all for God.

Sometimes, it seems Satan puts a dark thought in my mind. He says, “That seems selfish on God’s part.” I have to tell him, “No. It’s not.” God created me. He is my maker. He sent Jesus. I would have died in sin never to see him in heaven. Am I grateful? Of course, but it’s more than that. God took a person like me, someone who had to take remedial english in college, and made her a writer. Yea, yea, yea, you can tell me that I’m smarter than I think I am till your blue in the face, but I know the truth. I’m only an author because God wants me to be. He is the one who will make it happen, when it happens.

  1. Because of the perspective you have in managing a gift.

It amazes me the information you can find through social media. People blog, post, and comment on everything there is to talk about. They don’t have to, but they are serving others even if they don’t know it. It’s wonderful! Yet I’m finding few Christian’s blog. Most just put a comment on twitter and/or Facebook. Just imagine what could happen if more Christians blogged. If you take something your knowledgable about and add Christian perspective you have a gift that can be used as a unique instrument for God. Here is an example: my pastor jokingly told his congregation an idea he had for a reality tv show about a preacher. He gave a short demonstration and it was hilarious. I told him he should video himself and put it on YouTube, but he just laughed. Yet, I was serious. I think he could do a short summary of his sermon, add his funny spin on it, then post it to YouTube and start a blog. I imagine he would reach people he would not normally reach. I think it would be great!

  1. Because of the power in expressing a gift.

There is something about a Christian who uses their God-given gift. You know how you buy a gift from the store, then you get it home and realize it’s suppose to have batteries. You look on the box (which you should have done in the first place) and it says batteries not included. Well, that’s not how it works with God’s gift. He empowers you to use your gift. You will have everything you need, though that doesn’t mean it won’t be hard work. Besides, without hard work there is no appreciation. So, that something about a Christian, the one who uses their God-given gift, it’s God empowering them. Amen. I don’t know about you, but the thought of being empowered makes me feel super human. I like it!

What about you? Do you have a gift? Leave a comment and tell me how you are using it. If you’re not using it, do you have any ideas on how you could use it? Do you know of any good Christian websites or blogs? Please prove me wrong with my comment that there are not many Christian bloggers!

I have a drug problem

I heard the story told of a man who had a drug problem. From the time he was a baby he was drug to church on Sunday morning, drug to church Sunday night, drug to church on Wednesday night, and drug to church any other time the doors were open.

That was me. So, I forget that phrases I grew up hearing are not always understood by others outside the denomination I am in. This was brought back to mind when a good friend of mine read my book for the purpose of helping me do a little editing. One of the characters in my book stated that he prayed the sinners prayer. She wrote out to the side: “what is the sinners prayer.

The sinners prayer is prayed when a person prays to God asking him to forgive them of their sin, believes that Jesus is God’s son, and asks Jesus to be their Lord (i.e. the boss).

To pray the prayer, you really have to mean what you are praying. We try to put sin into categories: big and little and think that the little sin doesn’t count. Yet, sin is sin, even if it’s big or small.

A lot of people believe in God, but believing in Jesus is very important to the sinner’s prayer. You must believe in him. Hey, I’m not the one who says it. I’m just the messenger. It’s stated in the Bible.

Asking Jesus to be your Lord or Boss is not easy. In fact that is the hardest part. We want to do and be what we want. But the greatest thing about praying the sinners prayer is that God has a plan for our lives that is greater than anything we could plan ourselves.

What is the greatest benefit you will get from praying the sinners prayer? Your soul will live forever with Jesus in a place where there is no pain, no sorrow, and no sadness, only joy and happiness.

I love to hear the stories of when others prayed the sinners prayer. Will you tell me when you prayed the sinners prayer? What made you decide to pray the sinners prayer?