I Can’t Believe I Wrote the Whole Thing

You’re an author with lots of talent and a great idea! You know the market and are confident your story will work. There’s plenty of plot to make word count. So why not sell on proposal?

Selling on proposal seems ideal, but might not be a good idea for the new author. Why not?


A new author can’t necessarily gauge how long it will take to write a book. Perhaps the first book rode like the wind. The author was excited, and chapters poured onto the screen. But book two might not go as well. Writing it may feel like a chore, and take an extra six months. Or it may go even better as the author maintains excitement. But it’s hard to know without having the experience of writing at least two or three books behind you. Before I became a published book author, I wrote three complete novels and started two others. They will never see the light of day, at least not in their present form. Despite majoring in journalism in college, meaning I had formal training, the experience was nevertheless a crucial part of my process.

Ahead of the Game

One great thing about having the first novel completed upon contract is that you don’t have to hurry to write the first book! Not only that, but there’s a strong chance the editor can place your book on the roster in a hurry, jump-starting that first published book. Regardless, you can write the second book during the publishing process of the first book, leaving you with plenty of time to do your best work. The extra time also gives you time to live outside your writing hole.

Great Start, then Meh

Some time ago, an editor told me that many authors put everything into the first three chapters, but the rest of the book didn’t deliver. That’s why she didn’t want to see a proposal. She wanted to see a complete manuscript. Please note that productive veteran authors have earned the right to sell on proposal. Some authors even go to contract on a paragraph, or even the idea that they will write a book by a stated time. That’s a hard-won position, and one a new author aspires to. But in the meantime, a novice author will need to show an editor that her book delivers from page one to page 401. Not happy that you have to write the whole thing? See the previous paragraph.

Your turn:

How many books have you written?

Did you sell the first book you ever wrote?

What advice would you give to authors struggling to complete a manuscript?

57 Responses to I Can’t Believe I Wrote the Whole Thing

  1. Avatar
    Amanda Cleary Eastep January 25, 2018 at 6:16 am #

    Excellent advice. I’m in the middle of my second manuscript (YA fiction) and working on a query for the first (in between wondering if I should leave the book in a drawer). I have a master’s degree in writing and a long marketing writing career behind me; and today I am a developmental book editor with a publishing house. BUT nothing teaches you like doing.

    I find first-time nonfiction authors (who have sold on proposal) are also not prepared for the amount of rewriting and copyediting that happens even after they’ve “completed” the manuscript. Having one in hand before a pitch can definitely be an advantage…as long as a writer is open to the probability the book will go through the fires of refinement.

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray January 25, 2018 at 7:08 am #

      Great point, Amanda. The editing process can often leave authors discouraged and frustrated. However, almost every author finishes the process realizing the book was much improved and they were grateful to their hardworking editors for the effort.

      • Avatar
        Amanda Cleary Eastep January 25, 2018 at 8:36 am #

        Definitely! It can be a wonderful partnership. The collaboration—both from my perspective as a writer who has been edited and an editor shaping books—is rewarding in itself.

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    Loretta Eidson January 25, 2018 at 6:19 am #

    I have now completed four novels, and as you know, none have sold yet. I have more novels in my head and I plan to start on those after I complete edits on the fourth. My last novel took me longer than I intended because I struggled to make the plot work, and it was a losing battle. I tried to force it, but it just would not come together. So, I ditched it and started over with a new plot and got back on track. Now I’m excited to start the next manuscript. To others struggling to complete a manuscript, I’d say walk away for a day or two, pull your thoughts together and get back to writing. If that doesn’t work, check your plot. Like me, your plot may be your writing villain. Once it lines up, you’ll be going strong again.

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray January 25, 2018 at 7:10 am #

      Great advice, Loretta! I’ve heard it said that lots of readers will stick with a so-so writer who has a great plot, but it’s hard to stick with great writing and a plot that the reader doesn’t enjoy or doesn’t make sense. So keep being the great writer that you are, and keep writing those wonderful plots!

  3. Avatar
    CJ Myerly January 25, 2018 at 6:39 am #

    I’ve written two novels, and I’m working on the third. I have one unfinished manuscript that I set aside for now. I can’t believe how much I learned through those books. I haven’t sold a book yet, but I’ve focused more on improving my craft than submitting proposals to agencies. The book I’m working on now will be the first one I submit.

    My advice would be to set aside writing blocks. As a mom of a four-year-old and a two-year-old, if I don’t set aside specific time to write, it’ll never happen. Really figure out whether you prefer to write as a plotter or pantser. If you’re writing as a pantster, but nothing is coming to you, it might be better to spend some time plotting. If you’ve overplotted, you might find yourself taking the creativity out of your writing.

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray January 25, 2018 at 7:11 am #

      A great example of encouraging writers to work at the pace and in a way that works for them. Thanks!

  4. Avatar
    Ruth January 25, 2018 at 7:06 am #

    A small digital publishing house contracted my first book back in 2008. I was flattered and thrilled that someone believed in my story. But my writing improved greatly after I started teaching writing and language arts. Now, with 7 additional books out, I feel I have a handle on writing but am always learning the craft. I’d love to have an agent and sell a book to a traditional publisher! I’ll keep writing and publishing my books in the meantime. I leave it up to God. 🙂

  5. Avatar
    Laura January 25, 2018 at 7:12 am #

    I minored in Creative Writing, and while it was helpful, it didn’t prepare me to write a novel. University courses teach short fiction and poetry. The odds that you’ll have a professor who has actually written long fiction are almost nil. It’s like being taught to run a marathon by a 50-meter track coach. The skills don’t translate long-term. I’ve been writing novels since middle school, but everything I know about plotting, character development, and pacing, I learned from the five unfinished novels hiding in my desk and the single, hard-won, fully-edited manuscript on my computer right now. Just write the whole thing and edit it until your fingers cramp. There’s no better experience!

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray January 25, 2018 at 7:20 am #

      Good point about how Creative Writing courses work. Of course, college students physically don’t have time to complete a novel during a semester that includes other courses and activities, hence classes focus on works that can be completed during a semester. It’s good that you have the talent and fortitude to translate your skills to a long work.

      When I was taking a course on magazine article writing in college, another student said that at one college she knew, students had to have an article accepted for publication by the end of the semester or they would fail the course. When I went on to write magazine articles for pay a few years later, I noticed even back then it took well more than a semester for articles to be accepted. I always wondered about how strict that “failing” policy was enforced in practice.

      So yes, it’s definitely hard for colleges to mimic the real world of professional writing.

  6. Avatar
    Christine L Henderson January 25, 2018 at 7:14 am #

    Thanks for the reminder that just because you write it, publishers won’t flood you with contracts. Except for the truly gifted, writing takes a lot of work and rewrites. Though I’ve sold many short pieces to various anthologies and magazines, I’ve yet to sell a book that is totally my own. But I keep writing.

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray January 25, 2018 at 7:22 am #

      That’s the thing — as Winston Churchill famously said, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, …”

  7. Avatar
    Tracey Dyck January 25, 2018 at 7:21 am #

    Once my college semester ends, I’ll jump into an intensive round of edits on my third completed novel. I’ve written three novellas and several short stories as well, which have all taught me the value of brevity and provided a condensed lesson in story structure.

    But the novel I’m working on now is what I would love to publish first. And I’ve got a couple more burning ideas to work on while that one makes its rounds through the world of agents! 🙂

    I don’t know whether I’m excited or terrified of the idea of possibly contracting a book on a paragraph alone someday!

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray January 25, 2018 at 7:23 am #

      Tracey, your energy, persistence, and enthusiasm will all help you be taken seriously. I’m sure you’ll be ready to contract on a paragraph once you reach that point in your career!

      • Avatar
        Tracey Dyck January 25, 2018 at 9:53 am #

        Thank you, Tamela! And this is slightly off topic, but I want to thank you and your colleagues for being a beacon of excellence and warmth. Reading this blog helps me stay hopeful about my writing future. Keep doing what you’re doing!

        • Avatar
          Tamela Hancock Murray January 25, 2018 at 10:36 am #

          Thank you! We write this blog for people like you, Tracey, so it’s great to know we make this worth reading.

  8. Avatar
    Julie Christian January 25, 2018 at 7:37 am #

    Great article, Tamela. Thank you!

    I recently completed my first manuscript and chose to complete it prior to submitting any proposals. In fact, I am now editing the entire manuscript in preparation for sending out queries to agents. I put a lot of thought into the the timing of it all, and figured that if first impressions really do matter, putting out my absolute BEST work is a big priority.

    When that first proposal is sent out, I will be ready for the next step!

    Hopefully, I will be able to say that I sold my first book at FCWC 2018. If not, there is always more work to do on it while I finish the second and third.

    Thank you again for writing blog posts like this that continue to educate those of us who are admitted newbies to this industry.

  9. Avatar
    Sami A. Abrams January 25, 2018 at 7:37 am #

    I appreciate the insight. The idea of committing to complete a manuscript by a specific date sends my heart racing. However, now that I’m in the last stages of my second manuscript, It doesn’t seem quite as daunting as it did four months ago.
    I have learned so much each step of the way. (I’m not sure I want to go back and read my first one. I’ll just want to rewrite it. Giggle.) I am still discovering how I write a new project. I’m a pantser by nature, and my characters have a mind of their own, so the first draft is all over the place when I write.
    Many new authors try to mimic someone else’s process and realize it doesn’t work for them. Even though I’m a novice, I would recommend finding the part of your novel you struggle with, asking others how they do it, and then make it your own process. I’ve pieced together several different methods, and feel a lot more comfortable with the idea of starting another project.

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray January 25, 2018 at 1:34 pm #

      Great advice, Sami. And of course lots of writers’ organizations offer critique groups to their members.

  10. Avatar
    Karen Saari January 25, 2018 at 7:52 am #

    I’ve written four books total, and yes I did sell the first one! That was a lovely surprise. After that, I went on to write a series of three which I just finished. The first two went fairly well – as long as you don’t count the mistakes. By the time the third one was up on my screen – oh I had a hard time finishing that one. Major life events happened during that third book – and I thought I’d never get it done. Then I came to the horrible middle and slogged my way through it and then trying to end a series when I knew nothing about writing a series, well I learned a lot.

    ‘Sometimes the only thing you can do is keep doing it. Write bad paragraphs, and come back to them later. Just don’t stop writing. Once you lose momentum, it’s hard to get it back. I also forgot names of characters (no style sheet) and I was confused on my timeline. But I finally finished it. What an exercise in discipline! I wish I could do the same with donuts.

    • Avatar
      Judi Clarke January 25, 2018 at 11:25 am #

      Thank you, Karen, for your lines: “Write bad paragraphs, and come back to them later. Just don’t stop writing. Once you lose momentum, it’s hard to get it back.” I never tire of hearing words like these because they give me the courage to not make sweeping judgments about my ability based on an isolated writing session. They remind me that, “Yes, I will write bad paragraphs. Every writer does, and it’s OK. You know how to fix them, and through your career, you will continue to learn how to better fix them. Don’t be afraid of them. Just keep writing.” So, thanks!

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray January 25, 2018 at 1:36 pm #

      LOL — donuts are hard to resist, aren’t they? We have a Krispy Kreme in our town and have to force ourselves to drive by when the “hot now” sign is on!

      Yes, keeping on going is best. Good work!

  11. Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser January 25, 2018 at 8:06 am #

    Five novels complete, one nearly so, and two self-help books. There would be a book in my blog, too. And there are three SP’d short books.

    The first novel, “Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart”, sold, and I got to do the bookstore-signing-event-thing, which was cool. Another novel (“Emerald Isle”) is out in SP form (thanks to Carol Ashby), and BPH, after the publisher folded, is available once again (thanks again, Carol!).

    For the others I’m out of energy.

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray January 25, 2018 at 1:37 pm #

      So wonderful you’ve found a way to reach your readers, Andrew! Praying the Lord will grant you increased energy for your work.

  12. Avatar
    Tyler L. Jones January 25, 2018 at 8:14 am #

    This is a great article, thank you for your insight! My first novel (the proposal for which arrived on Steve Laube’s desk two weeks ago) was the result of first writing a non-fiction book that I realized, after completing, would work really well as a high-stakes thriller! Without that experience of a first book, even though it was non-fiction, I wouldn’t have developed that goal of writing something so compelling the reader doesn’t wanna put it down.

  13. Avatar
    Anne Carol January 25, 2018 at 8:16 am #

    I love how you explain the proposal process and the “whys” of needing a complete manuscript before pitching. It makes a lot of sense.

    I’ve written three books, and self-published two. #3 is in edits. Yes, I published the first book I wrote. Yes, it’s weak in some areas, and I definitely can see an improvement in my craft from #1 to #3 (even in the unedited form). It’s amazing how much an author learns in the process of editing! That’s why, even though I feel like giving up sometimes, I know there are professionals out there who will help me shape the manuscript into a readable final product.

    To someone struggling to complete their manuscript, I’d tell them to enjoy the process. Don’t stress over it, but take it one step at a time. Pray over it, too! In my day job, I work as an accountant. It can be quite boring. Writing, on the other hand, is fun for me. So when I get frustrated with something while writing, I tell myself it’s still better than doing tax returns!

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray January 25, 2018 at 1:39 pm #

      What a great attitude! No wonder you’re already on book 3! Congratulations!

  14. Avatar
    Joey Rudder January 25, 2018 at 8:26 am #

    “Regardless, you can write the second book during the publishing process of the first book, leaving you with plenty of time to do your best work. The extra time also gives you time to live outside your writing hole.”

    This is what I’m hopeful for, to have this sort of momentum where one is in the publishing process while I work on the next. And while all of that is taking place, I’m enjoying the entire process and my life.

    I’ve written two novels and I’m at the beginning stages of the third novel. The first one is buried in a box in the dark in the corner of our basement where it belongs…just horrible! But I’m thankful for the experience and the lessons I learned from writing it.

    I know I still have a lot to learn, but if I were to give any advice to authors struggling to finish their manuscripts it would be to walk away for a day or two (or even a few hours if time is limited). I find some of my best ideas/fixes hit me when I’m driving or brushing my teeth rather than staring at the screen, chewing on my pen cap, or shoveling in handfuls of chocolate chips.

    Thank you, Tamela. I always learn so much from your posts! 🙂

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray January 25, 2018 at 1:40 pm #

      So glad you enjoy my posts. Thank you. And thank you for sharing wonderful insights!

  15. Avatar
    Katie Powner January 25, 2018 at 8:55 am #

    I’m working on my fourth novel. None have sold. The first three will never see the light of day, but maybe #4 will be the one to make it out into the world. Completing that first novel was a complete surprise and got me hooked. The second novel was to prove to myself it wasn’t a fluke. For the third, I made several rookie mistakes that make me cringe looking back. But they’ve all been valuable experiences.

    So if you’re struggling to complete a manuscript, remember there’s no better way to learn!

  16. Avatar
    Sonja Anderson January 25, 2018 at 9:16 am #

    I’ve written two children’s novels and one non-fiction book, and yes, I did sell the first one!

    It took 14 years, though, with several major revisions along the way.

    My advice? (Cue Dori): “Just keep writing, just keep writing, just keep writing.”

  17. Avatar
    Kimberly Rose Johnson January 25, 2018 at 9:40 am #

    I’ve lost track of how many I’ve written. My early attempts are not published and never will be. I have sixteen published novels, one more set to release in March and three others contracted.
    Your advice is excellent, Tamela. For me, it’s not easy to write on contract. I find it to be a little stressful and have come to realize I prefer to have the freedom to write that first book then pitch the rest of the series.

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray January 25, 2018 at 1:41 pm #

      Yes, a lot less pressure there. But of course, after sixteen novels, you know what works for you and what doesn’t as you write. Congratulations, by the way! That’s great!

  18. Avatar
    Angela Breidenbach January 25, 2018 at 10:21 am #

    I’m on book number 17 of published works. But that includes 8 novellas at 20K and 3 devotional compilations. I’m one of Tamela’s oddities that sold on a paragraph. I think we can laugh today, but when it sold we were both a little frantic. It’d been so long since turning it into the publisher, and I’d upgraded my laptop, that I had no clue where that paragraph went. Tamela had to do a fast-paced search right along with me to see what they’d even accepted. She found it. I never did. Thank goodness that she’d saved it. That book became my first full-length Christian contemporary romance, A Healing Heart. But she’d sold a non-fiction previous so she knew I could finish a book. However, I will tell you right now that it’s incredibly hard to plot and write a full novel from a paragraph you’ve written months before. The idea is old and details long forgotten. Now I at least write the full synopsis so I have a clue where the story is going if it’s being turned into a traditional publisher.

    On the other hand, some I’ve written indie (that publishers have not contracted for various reasons), still work out better if I know the synopsis ahead of time. Writing book 17, it’s still a hard job. I can say now I have an inkling of what I’m doing, finally. Immersing ourselves into complete worlds doesn’t happen overnight The world emerges as we live in it and write the novel. Knowing as much of it as possible before starting the story will speed up the process immensely. If I could offer any advice to new writers—be as familiar with your story world, characters, and the character goals as possible before starting. Even if it’s in your head. I’ve learned to keep a file of notes as they come to me for each story. And, if you ever had to go to court to prove you are the creator, well, look at all your evidence 😀

    • Avatar
      Amanda Cleary Eastep January 25, 2018 at 10:35 am #

      Writing a synopsis is great advice. I’ve foumd that helpful since I’m not naturally an outliner. As an editor, I’ve also asked authors to go back and rewrite their outline before moving ahead to a rewrite of the book.

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray January 25, 2018 at 1:43 pm #

      What fun we’ve had, Angie! And yes, the more you have written down from the start, the easier it is later. “Easier” being relative in the hard work of writing a book, that is!

  19. Avatar
    Carol Ashby January 25, 2018 at 10:21 am #

    Since I retired, I write 8-12 hours a day, so I’ve been able to finish five (4 Roman-era in my Light in the Empire series, one 1925 Colorado romantic thriller) with 2 more plotted and partly written. The first three got a total rewrite from omniscient narrator to 3rd person limited deep POV after my first Genesis contest. (Many thanks to the judges who told me to do that!) I learned so much about good craft while doing those rewrites!

    Those three are in market with a 6-month publishing cycle between them. I couldn’t be happier with both the response of readers (heartwarming reviews, gratifying ratings, and lots of readthru from one book to another in the series) and the sales. But the pressure is really on to keep the quality of later volumes equal to the ones where I wasn’t writing to a schedule. I don’t want the readers who loved earlier ones and then spend money to buy my next story to be disappointed. Thinking about the enjoyment I hope they will get from the next helps me stay focused on getting it finished.

    My advice for completing a novel on a time line is the following:
    1) Define the theme and overall plot from the start so you don’t drift. Easy for plotters, much harder for pantsers. I don’t know what to suggest for a pantser.
    2) Write the beginning, end, and climax/crisis scenes when you start so you have tie points that keep the middle from drooping. If you’re finding it too hard to write the next section, feel free to jump ahead and write a scene that does fire your creative jets that day. That also helps stop any droop.
    3) Make every scene as tight as possible by editing what you’ve written right after you write it and by revisiting the earlier scenes as you write later ones. Rereading something you’ve already polished is so encouraging when you’re working on a section that isn’t flowing easily.
    4) Do several of your own edits before you give it to your beta readers. If what you share is already semi-polished, they can give you more useful feedback. Plus they will enjoy it more and want to read your next manuscript. Always stress that you want as much negative feedback as they can give you so you can improve, plus you also want to know what they especially liked. That feedback can help you find the plot for your next novel. The one I’ll bring out in May features a secondary teenage character from the second novel that my beta reader begged me to turn into a main character because she couldn’t wait for more of him as an adult.
    5) If a plot for the next book comes to you as you’re writing, take the time to capture it in outline form. If I hadn’t been doing this, I couldn’t be on the 6-month cycle. Sometimes the entire next book will come to you almost in a flash , sometimes only the next main character and some key scenes, but capture what you get. Time spent planning the next novel is never time wasted. It’s also good to write on the next one if you just can’t get fired up on the current one that day.
    6) Above all, set a deadline, even if it ends up slipping. My sales almost tripled during the summer months when moms had time to read. Knowing I want a late May release for my next in the series is spurring me on to meet that deadline, even though it’s self-imposed as an indie. It’s too easy to let things slide if you don’t have a target. That could be entering a contest (ACFW has some great ones for the unpublished) or having some work ready to share at a conference.

    • Avatar
      Judi Clarke January 25, 2018 at 11:47 am #

      Thanks for your comments on this blog, Carol. Even though I’m a non-fiction writer, I always glean from posts and comments about writing fiction. Your deadline advice is right where I now live. I work full time (and then some) as a writer for an international ministry. At the end of a long day, with “the rest of life” waiting for me in the short hours that remain, I’ve found it hard to say no to the many other important things and people who need my attention. But, without a deadline, I’ll never get the books out of the planning/journaling stage and on the path to proposals. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray January 25, 2018 at 1:45 pm #

      Carol, I think these comments alone could snag you an invitation to teach at a conference!

      • Avatar
        Carol Ashby January 25, 2018 at 2:24 pm #

        Right conference, right location, and I wouldn’t say no. I loved making technical presentations about my research. Nothing beats getting together with colleagues to talk about what you all love.

  20. Avatar
    Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D January 25, 2018 at 11:12 am #

    HI Tamela,
    I have written a Ph.D. dissertation and two self-help books that have yet to be published. I am in the last stages of completing my first novel (oh, my, that sounds like a terminal disease or something!) and have already gotten ideas for a sequel.

    I have not sold my first book yet, but am still plugging away at making that happen.

    My advice is to write something every day. I got my dissertation finished in 12 months by committing to writing for two hours a day (it’s 400 pages long!). My classmates did not make the same commitment and they took up to two years longer than I did to finish their documents. I believe that, every day you write, you become that much stronger at writing.

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray January 25, 2018 at 1:46 pm #

      That is great advice that never gets old, Sheri. Life consists of habits. Great habits — like writing even a few hundred words a day — add up to a wonderful and productive life!

  21. Avatar
    Vanessa Burton January 25, 2018 at 12:09 pm #

    Thank you for this post! I love agent insights! I have written two novels of a for part series and two novels of a trilogy. I am currently working on the third novel of the trilogy while editing the first two to make sure the story flows within each text! I haven’t sold any yet, but I’ve just begun the query process, so we’ll see what happens! 🙂

  22. Avatar
    Linda Riggs Mayfield January 25, 2018 at 4:38 pm #

    I wrote two children’s picture books and received a handshake agreement with a publisher (literally–I was invited to travel to meet with the editorial staff in person and discuss also being the illustrator of the books when they released them in multiple languages). The agreement was later rescinded before the formal contract was signed. That experience totally took the wind out of my book-publishing sails! I kept writing, but made no further attempts to publish a book for many years–maybe a decade.

    Instead, I conducted doctoral research and published in professional journals and published articles in Christian magazines. I began researching and writing for a weekly newspaper history column, and still do that. I wrote a picture book about adoption, and finished two YA novels no one has ever seen, one contemporary, one historical. (Writer’s block has never been an issue ;-D)

    My academic background is in history, the other social sciences, and education. I’m a serious researcher, and I dream of publishing Thoene-type books. I’ve finished a Christian “thriller” novel set in Washington, Rome, and Santiago, Chile (where we served as missionaries), and two historical novels in a series that follows a family of non-Mormons as their moves West parallel the movement of the Mormons from NY to OH to MO to IL in the 1830s and ’40s. One of the Mormon stops was in the city where I live: when the governor of MO banished them on threat of death in October,1838, 5000 made it to Quincy, IL, and the 1600 local residents took them in until they moved on the following spring. That story is what originally piqued my interest: my Methodist-circuit-riding-preachers’-wife protagonist sheltered a Mormon family that winter.

    A well-known agent to whom I pitched the first of the series said she “loved” it, and would represent me if I could build a substantial platform within a year. I was not able to do it. A publisher also liked my writing, but urged me to write something that doesn’t involve Mormons for their future consideration. So–I’m praying for direction: should I keep trying to find an agent or publisher, concentrate on platform, go indie, or give up on the whole concept of a Mormon thread through my series story line? (I think I need to talk to Carol!)

    I believe I have to keep going through the doors the Lord does open. I’ve written and taught a ton of school, church, and Bible study curriculum from middle grades through college and adult, so I’m taking an online course in writing and teaching online curriculum for theological studies for nationals, offered to missions and seminaries around the world. Maybe I have been too unfocused or spread myself too thin to publish my fiction, and/or chosen a theme no one wants to publish; but I’ll get to teach pastoral scholars around the world from the computer on my desk. I think I could love it. We’ll see! 🙂

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray January 26, 2018 at 10:07 am #

      Linda, it sounds to me like you answered your question in the last sentence: write what you love and your audience will find you!

  23. Avatar
    Marcia Laycock January 26, 2018 at 9:57 am #

    Great discussion. Thanks, Tamela, for getting it going. I’ve written 5 novels so far – 3 YA and a novella. Working on book 1 of a 3 part series now. I was blessed to win the Best New Canadian Christian Author award for my first novel, One Smooth Stone, which included publication by a small Canadian publisher. He was going to publish the sequel but the bottom fell out of the economy just then and he dropped all his fiction titles. A big disappointment to me, but I went ahead and published it through Word Alive, also Canadian. I’ve done all the YA on Create Space. I don’t think I’d feel comfortable selling a fiction title by proposal. I know that goes against the usual advice but that’s the way i feel about it – I suppose because I’m not a plotter – so putting down an outline beforehand would be a chore and it’s unlikely I’d stick to it as I wrote.
    My biggest challenge is the marketing. Sales are slow. Sigh.

  24. Avatar
    Ashley Schaller January 26, 2018 at 10:52 am #

    Some great information to think about. Thank you for sharing!

  25. Avatar
    Cindy Mahoney January 26, 2018 at 11:47 pm #

    Hi Tamela

    Another great blog article. It’s often easy to rush through even the first draft.

    Like the saying goes, ‘It’s not the crime, it’s the cover up.’ Such is that for writers… me, anyway (not crime!). ‘It’s not the writing, it’s the editing.’

    I think I slog slower through an edit (oh, wait. Yes, I know I do) than the entire 80,000 word first draft. I’ve completed 5 NanoWrimo events, and have completed drafts at each stage.

    I have one completed novel (done, sent, etc) and one I am fiddling with the ending, but otherwise, veerrry close.

    My other novels need complete rewrites, or plot hole changes. Editing.

    On top of those five . . . I have um, plots for another nine. All are stand-alones except one trilogy. Hey, I started that one in 1990, finished it, and it needs work. Yep. 1990.

    I have a degree in Biblical studies and after wandering the wilderness for forty years, I’ve returned to my first love-God. And it was through writing How to Steal a Romance (done, with agent, not published ~yet? so don’t git yer hopes up there folks, you won’t find it at the bookstore.) that God was inviting me to get off the thorny path in the woods and back to Him.

    So, should I ever be published, I hope and pray that it will be to the glory of God. Through all 14 awaiting.

    thank you always for sharing your wisdom

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