After the initial excitement of signing with Eerdmans died down, patience part two was required with the dog of all dogs: revisions. But I have to confess that I learned a ton about my own writing through that process.
Here are just a few of my takeaways:
- One of the things I do best is repeat myself, especially if it has an emotional valence.
- I rarely place the relevant pronoun immediately after its antecedent.
- A large cast of minor characters is like trying to find a missing cat in dense fog.
- There is such a thing as tragedy overload.
- A little slang goes a long ways.
- If you are writing about a specific year in time, be sure you research the etymology of words relevant to that year (how shocked I was to find that 1963 was not a “groovy” year).
- If it serves no useful purpose, trash it.
- Give your protagonist a spectacularly unique personality and then, like a good parent, make sure she remains true to character throughout.
Last but not least, I think I am beginning to learn not to take myself or my writing too seriously. (hold me to this when the reviews start rolling in!) This part I can do only with God’s help. The writing life is such a roller coaster ride and I am admittedly already a roller-coaster personality type. There has been and will continue to be many nail-biting, hair-splitting moments, and many with positive outcomes. But I have had occasion already to remind myself that “this is just a book” and there is life beyond these words and pages that I have poured so much of myself into.
So my learning curve right now includes seeking a balanced life that includes quality family time, good health, and continued writing success. Repeat after me: This is not life and death, it is just a book.
Here's a video of Linda reading "Nervous Breakdown" one of the poems from the book. You get one guess as to the name of her videographer and the beautiful setting in which it was "filmed"!
If you think Linda is sitting around twiddling her thumbs until her book comes out in October, then you're wrong. She's offering writing workshops and working on her next book about a teen struggling to understand the impact of Batten's Disease on her sibling.