Jodie
Just thought I'd share. Just felt like ranting a little bit. I figured out the other day that I'll never know what it's like to NOT know what happens in my book. Yep. I already know the ending. No suspense whatsoever. Now, that wouldn't be so bad if editing didn't exist.

But because of editing I've had to read the same book--the one in which there are no surprises for me to begin with---a million and one times. Maybe not that many, but it sure does feel that way! I have read it until I want to throw it against the wall. I have read it until I want to run it through a paper shredder while laughing maniacally. I have read it until I want to back my car over it over and over and over and over again. Get the picture?

At one point, I actually (jokingly) considered a bonus private chapter where all of the characters die. At the same time. That's how tired I was of reading about them. But I couldn't do that, even as a joke. I "love" them all too much.

Good thing, too... because every single one of them is showing up in book two. I'm on page two and one has already appeared. Geez... good thing I like them!
Jodie
I'm procrastinating.

It's true.

This is the part that I hate the most about writing. I'm sitting here and staring at a blank Word document (well, I was. Now I'm writing this...) and I'm hesitating to put down the first word. I've got the germ of the idea for the next book. I've even written the first page on paper with a pen. (Yep, paper and pen still exist!) I've got the character sketch for the main character done.

But, I'm still staring at that blank Word document and hesitating.

Why?

Well, a little bit of it might be because I'm the tiniest bit afraid. If I put that first word on the screen then I'm committed. I'm either committed in succeeding to write the book or in failing to write the book I started. It'll either come to a big ol' something or a big ol' nothing. The big ol' nothing scares me. I like the new character (her name is Kate and she's the basis of the sequel to the last book, so I get to "hang out" with all of the other characters some more. Yay! I sort of never wanted to see them again for awhile. Now I kind of miss them...). I think I'm a little bit afraid of failing her. Unless you've written something before, that sounds insane because, as is obvious to us all, Kate only exists in my head so I can't really fail her. But I can fail to tell the story that God's placed in my brain, if that makes any sense at all. I can fail to make her come to life the way she's meant to. That's kind of what it is. I think.

But then I remember something... it's hanging on the wall next to the computer. It's Ephesians 6:19 and it says, "Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel." And there ya have it. That's what I need to do. God's word, God's job, without fear. Yay, God!

So, I'm gonna go now and I'm gonna commit myself. It's high time I did it. I wrapped up Going in Circles around mid-October and have been editing and "selling" ever since. It's time I got around to putting that metaphorical pen on the metaphorical paper again, huh?

Or maybe I'll go get lunch first?
Jodie
Here's a secret I've only learned in the past six weeks. Are ya ready?

Writing is easy. Selling is hard. I think that will be my motto from here on out.

Now, you'd think that writing the book would be the hard part. It's not. It's a breeze. Getting an agent or a publisher to accept it? Putting together all of the proposals required to send to those agents and publishers? There is your hard part.

My personal choice is to hire an agent. I know that you don't need one, but I want one. Why? Because I am not a business-oriented person. Numbers and contracts and things like that go right over my head. I really need someone who knows what they're doing to handle those kinds of things. So for me and my personal choice, I'd like to have an agent. You may not want to hand over the 15%. That's cool. I consider the 15% to be my peace of mind, if that makes sense.

But! Before I can hire an agent, I have to get one to accept me. So in a strange way it's like going to a job interview and offering to pay somebody to let you work for them. That may not be a perfect analogy, but that's sort of how it is. I understand it; no agent wants to spend time on something that won't sell. After all, he or she makes money when their client makes money. I respect that. And so begins the effort to make them want to take a look at my book.

You get an agent (or a publisher if you aren't in the mood for an agent) to look at your book by creating a killer proposal for it. You can have the world's greatest book and a bad proposal and you're outta luck. So your proposal needs to be good. Depending on the agent/publisher, there are different requirements for proposals, so checking out their websites is a must. Some want a one-page query letter first. Others want a query letter and a synopsis (three single-spaced pages that basically summarize the book). Still others want a query letter, a synopsis, a back cover blurb, and other things.

Here is where I struggled and struggled and struggled. Going in Circles is, according to Word's word count, about 107,000 words. I think it's less by industry word counts, but that's not a major point. The synopsis of the book was pretty easy for me, but that could simply mean that I did it wrong. :-) It's the query letter that killed me. Wanna know why? Because you have to pack a lot into it, and one of the things you have to pack into it is a forty-or-so-word summary of your book. Forty. I had to turn 107,000 words into forty and do it in a way that convinces whoever is reading my query letter that I have a fabulous book on my hands.

To be honest, I wanted to beat my head against a wall. Really. I seem to recall pounding it on the desk a few times anyway. I prayed. And I prayed. And I prayed. Just like God had to write the book, He had to write the query letter and the forty-worder. It's His for His glory and I had to have His help. It took me over a week to finally get down to forty-five words. And that was spending hours a day at my desk. I think it took me less time to write the book! (Just kidding... but it sure felt that way!) I finally got it when we were driving from Georgia to North Carolina. I hauled out my legal pad and sat in the front seat and hammered at it until I had something. Is it good? Beats me. I hope so. Is it approximately forty words? Yep, it is. I wanted to car surf down the highway I was so happy to get it.

There's more... because that was only the forty-word summary. But it's a start in this blog for now...
Jodie
That's a great line in a Paul McCartney song... "And we always came back to the song we were singing at any particular time." I sat down to write this and that song just popped right into my head. It makes me think of my friend Shannon, who says I have a song for everything and she just thinks it's weird that everything goes back to a song for me. Well, everything does. I write a lot and music plays a big role in my life, too. So I thought that maybe, since this is a "get to know me" kind of thing, that I'd occasionally hit on some songs that are speaking to me at the moment. Why not? I've got nothing else to talk about at the moment.

So, the first song shall be... drum roll please... "I'm Not Who I Was" by Brandon Heath. I first heard that song back when Paul was in Iraq in April 2006, when I was in motorcycle safety course. I did a lot of growing while he was in Iraq, and it's while he was gone that I figured out that God wanted me to write. God really (and intensely, lemme tell you) started to show me all of the changes He'd made in me over the past few years. So I was driving home from getting my motorcycle endorsement on my license (something I wouldn't have done even a year before) when this song came on the radio. And it hit me... I'm NOT who I was. A lot of anger... all of the fear, all of the past... gone. I think part of it is why, when I saw "The Passion of the Christ," I really got hit by the line, "I come to make all things new." How awesome is it? To be a new creation? To be "not who I was?"

Wish I could explain that better...

--JB
Jodie

This is, by far, the greatest single cartoon ever drawn. Ever. It has been visible from my computer chair for the last twelve years. And it's exactly how I feel the bulk of the time. Enjoy!