I’m really enjoying Wisdom Wednesday! Everyone needs encouragement, and if you’re an author or a writer, you need it too. Writing can be different things to different people. For me, I’ve always dreamed of having my name on a print book, and to hold that book in my hands. When my books arrive in the mail soon, I will be able to see that dream come true. Next Tuesday, my dream of being published is coming true. (release day!)
Sometimes, writing can be a product of someone’s dreams, or something that they have to do. Writing can also be healing, when spoken words and actions are hard to say or do, the written word can soothe and help us say exactly what we are feeling.
Writing can also be hard. It’s difficult to put yourself out there, to have others read your words and critique them. It’s hard to be vulnerable, to be transparent. Sometimes that’s why we need encouragement, and tips from others who’s been there.
Let’s see what we can learn from Bethany Baker today.
Name: Bethany Baker
Genre: Historical Romance
Latest Novel: A Light in Bailey’s Harbor
Less is more.
My mother would faint dead away if she knew I was giving advice like this. I’ve always been one to spill my guts in any and every situation. Don’t tell me a secret. I’ll just warn you up front. It’s not that I don’t try, and it’s not that I want to be disloyal. It’s just that words are not meant to be bottled up. They must be free! Well, at least this is the motto I lived by up until a couple of years ago when I went through the editing process for A Light in Bailey’s Harbor. I quickly realized that all of the extra “blab” we use in fun conversations just doesn’t transfer over into good writing.
The best advice I could give would be to simplify your story line. Even though all writers has a different writing/planning style, they need to narrow down their characters and cut any extraneous events/story lines. This was the hardest thing I’d ever done. I felt like I was abandoning my own children when I cut these extra characters from my novel. But in the end, it made my story line much stronger and more focused. If you’re unsure of what to cut, ask your trusted friends. It’s hard to be objective with your own writing. Of course everything you write is wonderful, because you wrote it, right? But if your friends are confused about the flow of your story or the significance of a character, there’s a good chance some creative cutting is needed. Just pull out the box of tissues, say your goodbyes to your “babies,” and move on. If it makes you feel better, do what I did. Make a file for all of your “cast offs.” I promise you’ll go back and read those edited characters and deleted scenes and realize they are better off in a cozy little file all by themselves. They’ll never even know what they’re missing, and believe me, neither will your readers!
This is such good advice! As a Developmental Editor, I also tell my authors to cut the unnecessary backstory. If it’s not driving the story forward, it’s not needed. If it drags down the story, your reader will get bored, and we have to keep them in the bubble of reading. As an author, I also know how hard it is to do that to your “babies”.
Favorite Writing Tip for New Writers:
I would encourage them by saying, “Don’t give up!” If you feel that the Lord has given you a gift and given you a message to share, then write. It won’t be easy, especially the editing process, but if you stick with it, you can do it. I started the first manuscript to A Light in Bailey’s Harbor when I was 16. With all of the hurdles life placed in my way, I never dreamed I would ever publish my novel. But 19 years later, my dream did become a reality. Through it all, I truly believe God had a message He wanted to deliver through the publishing of A Light in Bailey’s Harbor, so He worked out the details in His own time and for His own glory. He can do the exact same for others.
This speaks directly to my heart, because The Seer was a long process for me. I remember praying that if I was supposed to be a writer, (I knew I was but struggled with such doubt) that he would give me a burning desire for this story that I couldn’t get rid of. That story stayed in my mind 24/7. When I wasn’t writing, I would be reminded, “You need to write this!” When The Seer was finished, I remember just sitting back and crying. It was done. I did it. Such a great feeling!
Katy Kippling has an abundance of personality, or so she was told by a recent male acquaintance. Trying to conform to the etiquette of an 1880’s lady is difficult enough, without adding the challenges of having an abundance of personality.
Katy loves the Cana Island Lighthouse, serving her small lakeside town in Bailey’s Harbor, Wisconsin. In the summer of 1880, the new lighthouse keeper arrives. While Katy imagines his stately captain’s beard and noble brow, Blake Strawberry, the new keeper, is quite the opposite. Blake is a young man searching for something to heal the pain and heartaches of his past. By moving west and accepting this new position, he plans to forget all of his painful memories and disappointments. What he hasn’t counted on is that the Lord’s voice can be heard just as clearly in Wisconsin as in Massachusetts.
Throughout the story, another character, Horatio Spafford and his beloved hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul,” play integral roles in the characters’ lives. Will Blake surrender to the message of this song and allow it to change his life as it has changed the lives of those he loves? Will Katy move beyond her tangible child-like faith and trust that her Heavenly Father can truly make her soul well even when she doesn’t understand His ways? And will Blake and Katy relinquish the control they have on their own lives allowing the Lord to work in His time and in His perfect way, understanding that His ways are not always our ways.
Bethany Baker is the wife of a wonderful husband, whose voice of reason keeps her imaginative ideas needfully tethered…well, most of the time. She is also the mom of two ornery little boys who keep her busy with their sweet, dirty, silly, and wonderful antics.
During the day, Bethany is a Language Arts teacher for grades four through six at Burge Terrace Christian School, and in her free time, she loves to spend time out doors with her family taking walks, riding bikes, and hiking.
Connect with Bethany:
Facebook author: https://www.facebook.com/bethany.a.baker.author/
Newsletter sign up: http://eepurl.com/dcQOEn
Thanks for joining us this week, Bethany! Next week, we will have author, Laura Hilton.