Fiction Thursday: Rewrites and doubts about writing ability

So, here is the truth: I have been rewriting and editing A New Beginning this week and I’m discouraged. I don’t like parts of it and may need to gut the thing before I sent the thing to Kindle sometime in May. That’s the honest truth. I read it and think that there are so many sections that really need to be reworked so I’m working on that right now. I’m also having a lot of doubts about my writing but I’m sure that’s normal for any writer.

Which brings me to why there is not a new chapter for Fully Alive today. I do have ideas for Fully Alive. Plenty of ideas. But I’m intimidated by the story. A comment on my chapter last week highlighted this anxiety about writing this story, though unintentionally. The person who commented mentioned how difficult it is to make people from 2,000 years ago real to my readers. How true that is. Fully Alive is a story that has been in my mind for more than a year now and I’ve tossed it back and forth in this old noggin of mine so much that I’m back to my old habit of overthinking. The person who commented said they were sure I could bring the characters to life, but I keep thinking: What if I’m not the one to write this story?

I’ve written large chunks of this story, but I know I need to do more research before I can fully flush it out. That need for research is one reason I’m stuck on Chapter 4. If I show you the first paragraph of this chapter, you may understand better why I need to do some research.

The stench of death filled Atticus’ nostrils. Any other man would have gagged on vomit, but death was a smell Atticus was accustomed to. Before being stationed in Jerusalem he had been on the battlefields of Germania and before that he’d trained in Rome itself to become what his father had been — a Roman centurion.

I am so excited to explore the character of Atticus, I can not even tell you. But I don’t know enough about him yet. I need to know more about the army he is apart of before I can understand him. And I need to know more about his culture, how he grew up, before I can really tell his story. So, I’m a bit stuck. I need time to research, but I also need time to finish rewriting parts of A New Beginning, unpacking our house, writing The Farmer’s Daughter, and did I mention unpacking our house?

I have a lot of self-doubt when it comes to my writing. People I thought cared about me have declined reading it in the past and I know it is really stupid to hold on to that rejection (which the person probably doesn’t even know they did) but it’s still there in the back of my mind, amongst a pile of various other rejection skeletons. I still don’t feel like I’ve found my groove for fiction writing, but I’m not giving up. Not yet. I really enjoy it, even if it isn’t perfect. I like telling stories, even if they aren’t award winning.

I plan to keep sharing fiction on the blog, but I thought today I’d share with you that sometimes writing it is a challenge for me. While it’s a challenge, it’s also a ton of fun and I am determined not to take the fun out of it, which is why I decided there isn’t anything or anyone who says I have to share a piece of fiction on my blog if I feel it isn’t ready. If there isn’t anyone pressuring me to share before I’m ready, then why am I pressuring myself? Who even knows.

All that being said, I do have additional chapters from The Farmer’s Daughter to share tomorrow and Saturday. I’ve been working on Fully Alive and The Farmer’s Daughter about the same amount of time but Molly’s story is coming faster for me because her story takes places in a more modern time and in a setting I’m more familiar with.

Here is a sneak peek of that chapter:

I brought you some lemonade.”

Robert looked up, his face smeared with grease and sweat and when he saw his wife standing there, her dark brown curls falling around her shoulders, the sunlight behind her creating a deep orange aura around her, his stomach flipped like it so often did when he saw her. She still had the same affect on him even after 31 years of marriage. He couldn’t look at her without feeling the way he had at the age of 15 when he’d met her on that merry-go-round at the fair; a teenage giddiness that sent ripples of pleasure through his chest.

Robert straightened from where he’d been bent over the tractor and wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. “Thanks, sweetie.”

He took the glass from her hand and drank it in one long gulp, the cold of it spreading from his chest throughout this limbs, bringing him a cool feeling he’d desperately needed.

 “I needed that,” he said handing her the glass. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” She stood, smiling, holding the glass, watching him as he wiped the grease from his hands. “Have you figured out what’s wrong with it yet?”

“Yeah, I think so,” Robert said, avoiding her gaze. He knew she didn’t really want to know about the tractor. She wanted to know why Bill had been there and he knew he was going to have to tell her. He’d hoped she hadn’t seen the exchange, but he knew better. Annie didn’t miss much around this place and it wasn’t easy to keep secrets between them.

 He knew if he looked at her she’d draw it out of him, the same way she drew so much else out of him – deep feelings he wouldn’t share with anyone else: worries, hurts, joys, sadness, fear. Desire. Passion.

 He didn’t want her to draw this out of him, to have to admit he was failing his family; that even by working so hard every day on this farm he couldn’t pay his bills, pay his debts, and keep the farm going the same way his father would have.

“How far behind are we, Robert?”

I’ll see you tomorrow for the rest of Chapter 5 of The Farmer’s Daughter!


Want to read what I’ve shared so far on Fully Alive? Click the link at the top of the page or HERE. You can find additional chapters from The Farmer’s Daughter HERE or at the link at the top of the page.

Written by Lisa R. Howeler

As a writer, photographer and former journalist, Lisa R. Howeler writes a little bit about everything on her blog Boondock Ramblings. She self-published her first novel, A Story to Tell, in September 2019 on Amazon. She's a wife and a mother and enjoys a good John Wayne movie and a cozy Jan Karon book. She's also a freelance writer and photographer who is a contributor to various stock agencies, including Lightstock and Alamy. Her photography work focuses on documentary and photojournalism.

19 comments

  1. Thanks for the post. I assume all writers feel that sense of vulnerability you shared. As I have discovered, part of publishing or posting one’s writing is to invite a response. So far, for my first novel, the responses were not from the parts in the book I liked the best. But, it’s the reader’s book once they start it, so that’s fine by me (like I have a choice).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Years ago I thought I could write a book and boy was I wrong! I admire you for your talent because it’s not easy. Your work is amazing the way you make the characters feel like real people and they become part of you. It takes someone special to be able to write like that. Keep your head up, ignore the negative Nancy’s, and unpack that house! LOL

    Like

  3. Don’t give up! I think all writers, if they’re honest, have doubts about our writing. But that’s what makes us continue to rewrite, revise, recreate. I’m just impressed that you are working on so many stories at the same time. I wouldn’t be able to keep them all straight in my mind!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh please don’t stop writing and sharing, I love your stories! But I know how that sting of rejection cuts deep. (You’ve read my last 2 posts, and know I’m speaking from my heart.) Somehow, God uses every drop of it all. I don’t know how, but He does. I’m praying for you to be encouraged this week! You are a blessing to me.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You have brought tears to my eyes on a hard day of weakness, here, Lisa. Thank you for your sweet encouragement. Isn’t it amazing how the Lord allows us to pray for each other, and to bring gifts of encouragement just when we need it? Blessings and love to you.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I know that anxiety all too well! It’s why I’ve been working on the same story for 20 years, because I’m afraid I’m not quite the writer I need to be to be able to tell it properly. But, having read so many writing blogs and advice from all kinds of seasoned and debut authors, I’ve learned writing is more of a group effort. There’s the writer to write the first…hundred or so drafts, the beta readers to help smooth out the kinks, the editors to help it breathe, and the actual paying/borrowing readers to tell you what actual stinks and what isn’t so bad. It feels weird to pin so much responsibility on others to make a story work, and sometimes it just doesn’t work, but it makes me feel better about diving into a first draft and following it to the end. Of course it stings when someone seems to absolutely loathe it, but, as a book reviewer, I also know not every story is for everyone because I’ve read some good books I just couldn’t bring myself to love. I recently read a unique book the author said a lot of reviewers had passed on because it was too out there, but I ended up loving every bit of it. Tell your stories! Someone out there will love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s what I always tell myself. Each story isn’t going to be for everyone. I don’t know if I have the patience to send a story through that many people, but, who knows, maybe I will. I think I’m just fine with my stories going up on Kindle and sitting there. I have a couple other books I’m working on that I’d like to see go further, but I’m not too worried if they don’t. I’m just having fun writing them.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Rejection by those we expect to care stings. I’m learning to walk away from it, but not as easy as said. You are a good writer, Lisa. I admire your fluid style. And there’s always room for improvement. ‘Write. Write more. Write even much more.

    Liked by 1 person

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