Friday's Fare

Friday Food for Thought: Change is Inevitable

My husband complains that I love change too much.

Ladies, does this really come as any surprise? I’m not sure why he seems so taken aback by my desire to change things up a bit: redecorating the living room, rearranging the bedroom, adding more pretty plants to the garden, reversing a decision about something that I previously opposed.

Change is inevitable. Otherwise, we’d all still be living off the land, traveling by horse-drawn wagons, suffering in the summer heat, and shivering in the winter cold.
And who hasn’t heard that a woman is prone to change her mind. That’s our prerogative. Right, ladies?

One thing that I have noticed is the change in my writing style. It’s amazing how much it has changed over the years, hopefully in a good way. I find that developing characters is easier since I can usually put myself into their heads when I write. Describing settings is another increasingly easy part of the writing job since I see where the characters are and simply transcribe what I’m envisioning.

But, as in life, my stories are not always happy-go-lucky everything-is-wonderful type of books.

Apparently my latest manuscript is one of them.

As always, my dear husband, Marc, is the first to read my drafts. He is one of the smartest men that I know…maybe the smartest men that I know…except, apparently, in matters of dealing with a writer-wife-who-is-prone-to-change.

“Did you get through the first ten chapters?” I asked.

“Two.”

“What?! Only two?” I’m stunned.

That was the wrong answer. I wanted to throw something at him, mainly his laptop so that he’ll get with the program and read the other eight. However, I’m biting my tongue and sitting on my hands (plus his laptop is no where in sight).

“Well,” I finally say, trying to sound calm. “It’s due in just a few weeks. Might I ask what you thought about those first two chapters?”

And then he did the unthinkable: He told me!

“Well, to be honest,” he started without any hesitation whatsoever—I honestly have no idea what he was thinking—“I don’t know if it’s your mood or the writing, but those two chapters were very gloomy.”

Gloomy?

GLOOMY?

It took me a moment to register the fact that my dear, sweet, loving husband just called my adaptation of Sense & Sensibility ‘gloomy’…even if he had only read the first two chapters.
“Seriously? You didn’t just say ‘gloomy’, did you? Come on, Marc. Their father dies on page two! Are they supposed to be laughing it up and partying? Hee heeing and haw hawing? Their futures have completely changed and not for the better! Of course it’s gloomy!”

That’s when he shrugged.

He’s lucky that laptop was no where in sight because then I really might have chucked it at him.

Look, let’s face it. Writers are creative people. We also have a little crazy in us. We have to because our job is to observe, think, and write (and edit…oh boy, do we edit!). It’s a solitary career, one that requires us to miss out on girls’ lunches, say no to candle parties, and neglect to make dinner if we are on a roll. People like to offer us their ideas for what would be a great story or ending or character, but if we don’t own the idea, we certainly cannot write about it. So not only do we live inside of our own heads, we work there, too. Brainstorming buddies are great to have. In the long run, however, the ultimate decision to make or break a character is ours and ours alone.

Our greatest moment of glory is not in publishing the book nor in the sale of the book but in what people think about the book.

Calling a story ‘gloomy’ or shrugging shoulders is akin to telling someone that their newborn baby is funny looking! Or, even worse, ugly!

When you read a book that you simply loved, leaving a review is truly the only paycheck a real writer wants. Real writers write because they have stories in them…not for royalties or advances or rankings (although those would be nice to have, too). Writers who love the craft of storytelling do it so that someone—and hopefully a lot of someones—read the story and say, “Wow! That was a great book!”

Now, to return to the topic of change…

Back to the editing board I must go, re-reading the draft for the bazillionth time, to see if it is, indeed, gloomy. Too gloomy. And if it is, I guess my love of change might just be a good thing to have after all.

5 thoughts on “Friday Food for Thought: Change is Inevitable

  1. You just change away Sarah. I love how you dig in to your characters and bring them to life in my head. Maybe Marc was feeling a little “gloomy” when he read it and that reflected his opinion. I personally appreciate your love of change. I wish I could be more like that. I am working on it. And I appreciate your gift to write, changes and all. I have NEVER been disappointed in any of your books nor did I feel they were “gloomy”. Unless they were supposed to be. They can’t all be Sunshine and Lollipops. (Now that song is going to be stuck in your head) LOL You keep up the awesome work and make as many changes as you want. Just write faster would you? :0)

  2. Sarah, you gave me a good laugh this morning. Especially the BONK! You DO want him to be honest, right? But the beginning is sad b/c don’t they have to move into a little cottage and only have a few material things that they didn’t have to get rid of? You could watch the movie to get some quick ideas! 😛 I plan on it. I think the girls were trying to be upbeat for Mama’s sake, but I’m not sure. Gotta watch the movie again! My favorite! HUGS, Sarah. Sounds like you may need them. 😀

  3. I love An Amish Buggy Ride. I’am almost done with it and I bought it at WalMart here in Bremerton, Washington. Your books are excellent Sarah and I wish you many more years of writing. I used to read time travel romances and Our Lord took all desire away from me for those books.I now read only amish christian books and I love them. May Our Lord Bless you and keep on writing and listen to your husband. HA! HA!

  4. Thank you for such a delightful read this morning. I can really relate to this issue, because my husband is the same way. At least he knows he is not alone in his thinking. I enjoy reading all of your books; they are so wonderful. I can relate to all of the issues your characters face and always get insight into them. Keep writing and please know you have a lot of friends and a lot of prayers. Thanks again.I

  5. Change is good Sarah. That way you have a different story each time you write a new book. If no changes then all your books would be alike. I have loved reading all your books. I think you are an awesome Author, keep up the good work..

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