This weekend I did something I’ve never done before.
I finished a book.
No, not reading one. Writing one.
I’ve been writing since I was a child. In fact, my kids would tell you that I wrote a book as a child. It was called Eggnog the Elephant, a picture book about the adventures of a pink elephant (don’t ask me; I was in grade school), and I suppose you could say it was self-published because I drew the illustrations and wrote each page and bound it myself. One of them still has the book I made.
I guess that’s because I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and it’s worked out for me. Writing and editing have been my vocation. Since I was a teenager – and that was a long time ago – I’ve written for and edited for newspapers and magazines. I’ve even had work published – and some who know me may be surprised at this – in poetry collections.
But I’ve never before written a book.
Oh, I’ve started dozens of books. Yet somewhere along the way I lost interest, or didn’t think the book was very good, or couldn’t figure out what to do next.
This one was different. At times the story just seemed to pour out. It went places I never expected it to go, and I’m happy with it. I like the characters, I like the story and I like the setting.
And golly did it pour.
When I started I thought I was writing one book. As I got near the end of the first volume – about 70,000 words, or a short novel – I thought it would be three volumes.
I was wrong.
Finished, it’s six volumes, totaling 388,000 words. For perspective, that makes the overall novel about two-thirds the length of War and Peace, but each volume is about the length of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. To put it another way, the overall novel would run about 1500 paperback pages, and each volume, about 250 paperback pages.
I think you can see why I broke it down into shorter volumes.
My wife says she thinks it’s good, and I don’t think she’s just saying that. When Julie read the last line on Sunday, she cried. I think that means it’s good. Gosh, I hope so anyway. I’d hate to think it was bad enough to make her weep.
Now come revisions. I consider what I’ve done over the last nine or ten months a first draft. I anticipate it’s going to take me a couple of months to revise it. I plan to print it on paper that’s already punched for a three-ring binder and edit it in binders.
Several big, thick, heavy binders.
I guess in addition to buying a case of paper, I’ll need to invest in a lot of red pens.
Then, when my revisions are complete, I’ll send it to a couple of people whose input I value, and after I take a look at their suggestions (a process that will likely take months as well), I guess I’ll be ready to try to get it published.
It certainly would be nice if it did sell and I was able to supplement our ministry income, but who knows?
Would you pray for me as I revise this behemoth? Pray that I am able to discern what needs to be added and improved, and equally important, what needs to be cut. Would you also pray now that I’ll be able to find a publisher for it?