Updates

Update: Editing Editing Editing! My Editing Journey + 3 Helpful Writing Tips

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Hello everyone!

I hope you all are doing well. In spite of all that’s going on in this world, God is still good and life is still worth enjoying.

I certainly have been able to enjoy myself, editing my novel these past few weeks. Getting lost in a fictional world is one of the joys of both reading and writing a novel. Even so, the real truths of fiction conveys can help one cope with reality.

An editor from the publishing company, Ambassador International, got back to me in April with her feedback on my novel. After I finished my finals for my college sophomore semester, I set to work.

At first I was overwhelmed by the amount of comments and changes she made or suggested. But gradually I realized how helpful they were and how needed. Through editing this manuscript, I have begun to form a greater understanding of what it means to be a good writer.

Oftentimes, I would say things in my novel on a whim that ended up not making any sense to the novel and in progressing the story. While I had fun writing those parts, for the sake of you all, the readers, you won’t have to read such a gibberish. 😛

Anyhow, I just want to take some time here to reflect on my editing journey, as today I  finished editing my last chapter. While I still have more general edits to make throughout the novel, I feel like I have completed something important.

Here are three things I have learned from my editing journey:

  1. Be clear and concise. Yes. If you are a writer like me, you likely have heard this many times. Of course. It seems obvious, but how many times do I write wordy sentences while trying to bring across a profound message? Writing clearly and concisely sometimes means you have to be “less descriptive,” but in the end, it comes off more powerful.
  2. Say only what’s necessary. This goes along with #1, but it is more specifically about honing in on your point and deleting the rabbit trails. Saying only what’s necessary will help the reader  focus on what’s important and stay engaged with the story. Long, drawn-out tangents lead to frustrated readers.
  3. Show, don’t tell. I used to think this was too hard and too much to ask of me. How would the reader know what’s going on if you don’t tell them? Well, the truth is actions do speak louder than words. As I edited my novel, I realized how much pleasure I got when I deleted the “telling” parts and replaced them with “showing.” Showing the reader how the reader is feeling by them making a fist is more powerful than just saying: “Tristan felt angry.” Showing gives the reader a better and more direct picture of what is happening, and it makes them feel included rather than a bystander who hears what happened from someone else. So, it really is the truth: showing instead of telling makes a huge difference!

Anyhow, that’s the gist of what I’ve learned practically from this editing journey. It’s been a pleasure working on my novel with this fantastic editor, and I look forward to working on more general edits soon.

In my next post, I will share what editing has taught me spiritually.

Have a wonderful night everyone!

Book

I’m getting published!!!

Related imageHello there blog readers! It’s been awhile! I hope the Christmas season is treating you well! It’s that time of year to celebrate the birth of God’s Son, who came to earth in human flesh to one day die and pay the price of our sins. God loves you so much, and wants you in His family. If you haven’t made the decision, today is the day of salvation! Trust in Him and be saved from death and receive a new life with Him!!

So, aside from the greatest news of all, I’ve got some other pretty good news! Last year, my novel, The Thrall’s Sword, got accepted by a small publisher, Ambassador International. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go with them at first, but, long story short, I decided a few days ago that I would go with them to publish my book!

I am beyond excited, and in my excitement God has driven me to wrestle with a few things. What exactly are my motives for writing and publishing this book? Back in 2014, when I started writing this novel, I would say I was passionate about writing and could think of nothing else I’d rather do with my free time. Historical fiction fascinated me; including the historical fact that Vikings had such strange funeral rituals as to burn longships on fire with all their possessions, along with a slave girl to supposedly serve the dead master in the after life.

While at that time, I wasn’t a great conversationalist because of my shyness, within the world of my novel anything was possible. I could create complex characters, character dynamics, tension, plot twists, and climaxes. Stories and people came to life for me and made me feel more alive than I did in real life at times. Writing books justified my existence, whereas in real life, I seemed to only be “half-there” or “half-alive” because of my shyness.

Over the years, I’ve become “more alive” in real life–all thanks to Jesus Christ! As I have grown closer to Him, I have begun to awaken to things that really matter. I have become a better conversationalist (though I am definitely still a work in progress!). I have grown in my love for people. I have begun to value time spent with people more than my writing. A new dream has sparked within me, to teach English overseas to build relationships with people, and to share the good news of Jesus Christ in a world of darkness.

My desires have evolved into more practical and more necessary areas of teaching a common language and saving lost souls. And, frankly, fiction writing seems like the exact opposite of that.

Nevertheless, as I have grown and changed, so has my novel. What started out as simply historical fiction with no mention of God, evolved into a transformational, redemptive story of God’s forgiveness. If you have ever read any of Francine Rivers books and liked those, then I think you will enjoy my novel. Her books inspired me to write a powerful tale of a hardened heart softened and restored. My main character, Sigrid, is very stubborn and will assuredly annoy you at least once, only to wonder at her transformation at the end. While my book is fiction, through it I depict beautiful realities, because of the many timeless truths such as hardened hearts in need of a Savior, and a God who grants forgiveness to all who ask for it. Thus, I trust that God will speak to each person in the way He desires through my novel.

Today, I am more in love with Jesus than ever. I am passionate about discipleship, and I long to give over my life to serving God wherever He leads. Most of all, my desire has become truly and simply to know Him more and more. He is good. He is kind. He is worthy!

As I look back at the years I have spent poring my time and energy into this novel, I wonder at the fact that I had so much motivation, so much thoughtfulness, so much care put into this work of fiction. The truth is, it astounds me that I was propelled so strongly to complete this piece and make it what it is today. It astounds me the amount of patience I have had these five long years.

The only thing I can do is give credit to God. He gave me the gift of writing, He gave me motivation, He gave me patience, and He gave me love for Him and faith in Him (as He does for all who ask Him!). The truth is, every ounce of credit goes to Him. Apparently He wanted me to write a book and get it published. Apparently He wanted people to read this redemptive story. Apparently He is doing something through my life that I could never imagined back in 2014.

It’s only because of Him that I exist, because of Him I wrote a book, and because of Him I am who I am today. I want to give Him the supreme glory, because without Him, none of this would even matter. With Him, we have life–fullness of life! A life with meaning and purpose.

Please pursue Him, because He has an adventure for everyone of His beloved children. Please love Him, because He loves you abundantly more than you could imagine. Please surrender everything you are to Him, because none of it was ever yours anyway.

Thank You, Jesus, for all You have done and all You will do! Amen.

Do you struggle with giving the credit to God? Do you struggle with having impure motives, and needing God to purify your motives? Comment below your thoughts. 

Thank you so much, and have a wonderful Christmas!

excerpts

An Excerpt: This Huge Space Inside Me

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(Glossary note: Iosa is the Irish word for Jesus)

“What am I looking for?” I whispered.

Tyra pulled her blanket up to her chin and stared up at the thatched roof above us.

“Sometimes I feel like there’s this huge space inside me, wider and emptier than a starless night. Nothin’ I do can fill it up. Nothin’ but God, nothing but the grace He has given us through Iosa. That may not be what you’re looking for, but it’s what we all need, Sigrid. If it weren’t for God bursting inside of me, I wouldn’t be able to stand Ragnar. I’d run. He’d catch me and whip me. I’d run again. But with God, I’ve learned to have compassion on Ragnar. I’ve learned to fill up this void with Iosa’s love and His… strength.”

Tyra gave a gentle, rippling laugh. “God is good, Siri. He is so, so good. He gives me strength. He gave me the strength to tell Ragnar about Him. Ragnar hasn’t changed, but I have. And I pray someday he will change—and ye will, too.”

I said nothing.

“Good night, Siri. I love ye. Iosa loves ye.”

I closed my eyes, moving my tongue around my mouth. But I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t tell her she was wrong about her god, about everything. She had felt something, but it was only a feeling; she had thought something, but it was only a thought. Her perspective on life was radically different than mine. Iosa didn’t love me. Iosa didn’t even know me! Tyra’s experience with Ragnar was awful, so she had to deal with it the only way she knew how.

Yet… my heart was touched by her love and her strength. It couldn’t have come from her god, but it was beautiful. It was a pity her beautiful soul was wasted pouring into the life of that wretched man. Would she ever realize her efforts to love him could never thaw his icy heart?

Book, excerpts, Updates

An Update and an Excerpt

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Hey everyone! I have been working on sending query letters and book proposals to literary agents. I need a literary agent in order to present my book to good-sized publishing companies. Next week I am going to the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference, where I will not only meet with other writers and learn a lot, but I may have the chance to present my novel to literary agents face-to-face! Prayers very much appreciated. ❤

And without further ado, here is an excerpt from my Viking novel, The Thrall’s Sword. Comment your thoughts! 

“I screamed as a wave crashed over me. The ship turned over, the dark mass smothering me, driving me down into the depths of the sea. My instincts took over, and I swam away from the ship, escaping the ship’s malicious urge to drown me. The current whipped me about like I was a mere strand of seaweed. I kicked my feet violently and paddled my hands as my father had taught me.

A wave roared above me, so I swam to the only safe place, deep under the water, holding my breath and sinking down into the cold silence of the sea. I squinted my eyes open. For a moment I forgot I needed to breathe, and I just stared at the beauty of the ocean—the undulating greens and blues of the water, the fish that were darting about, trying to flee the chaos the arrows had caused. Then I saw the ship sinking slowly, a cow drowning alive, and bright gold coins twinkling as they sunk along with the rest, journeying to the after-life. And I saw Mum falling slowly, her chest bloody from the sword, her brown hair wild about her—her beautiful, beautiful soul.

No more.

Sorrow overwhelmed me. But I couldn’t—I couldn’t breathe.”

 

 

Testimonials

Book Testimonials

 

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“The ocean had always been there for me, just as she had been there, as a hope, a reason to stay alive.” — Sigrid, The Thrall’s Sword

 

A huge thanks to these wonderful people who have read my book, The Thrall’s Sword, and given valuable feedback, along with these beautiful testimonials! I’m working on getting an agent to publish this thing, so keep a lookout for updates! =)

“The Thrall’s Sword is a powerful story of forgiveness, redemption, and healing. I love the Irish words, references to Norse gods, the character’s accents, but most of all – I am in awe of the weighty message this story shares. Iosa, or Jesus, can save anyone, and beauty can come out of brokenness.” – Olivia Giordano, blogger at https://livforhim.wordpress.com/

“Sigrid is such a relatable character! You’ll cry with her, question with her, grow with her, and celebrate with her throughout this vivid and moving historical novel.” – Brittany Meng, freelance editor and blogger at thebamblog.com and motheringbeyondexpectations.com

“I really enjoyed the book ‘The Thrall’s Sword’. It was not simply another tale of Vikings, adventure, and romance. It was written in such a way that brought the entire story to life, making the sights, smells, and experiences of the characters a reality in my mind. Through the subtle humor, terrifying happenings, and heart-wrenching moments, the novel was powerfully redemptive and brought a deeper level to the tale than most other books.” — Katie, Arizona