Writing to The End

I’m about done with a first draft of a book I started the first of November. I’m quite satisfied with having written 76k words in six weeks, but I have a few more to go before writing The End.

Then, I’ll start all over. The story needs a lot of  sanding and polishing. But I like what I have so far.

Usually, about 2/3rds through the first draft, I make a major discovery that sort of brings the whole story together for me. I’ll stop writing forward and go back to the beginning and rewrite. The process usually goes quickly because I know what I’m doing.

But this time, I’m not stopping. I’ve made some major character discoveries. I’m even changing a major character’s setting. But that’s okay. I’m not going back to the beginning to start my rewrites.

I want to go all the way to The End to see what’s there.

So much of a story is discovered as you write it, no matter how much you’ve planned and plotted. I dare say, if you’re not discovering character and plot layers as you write, you  might not be thinking deep enough.

It’s easy to stay with the plan. The writing is fast and relatively easy. But is that the best story the plot and characters can tell?

Stick with the story. Write to The End. Then begin rewriting. It’s a valuable lesson I’m learning this time around.

Here’s another big tip. Stay with the same story. Don’t jump to another idea. It’s so easy to get bored with what you’re writing and want to do something else. Stick it out.

Make it your New Year’s resolution to write to The End before starting over or moving to another project.

How did I get started?

I`ve been thinking about becoming a writer when I finish school, and I was wondering how you got started.


I think a writer has to be two things from the get-go – a lover of stories, and someone who is committed to working hard.  I was the kind of girl when I was young who would pedal her bike to the library and spend the entire day reading…I loved stories and getting lost inside another world.  As I turned my sights toward writing, I looked at the kind of books I read, and tried to figure out why they worked, or didn’t work, and my favorite part about them.  Then, I began to write.  And this is the hard work part.  I wrote and wrote – for myself, for any publication that would print my work; I wrote letters and journals and devotionals and eventually wrote for magazines. I looked for contests, and open doors into publishing, made friends with other writers, who connected me to publishers, (kept writing – now novel size books) and finally found a publisher who was willing to take a chance on me. 


My son and daughter are interested in becoming writers, also.  I’ll give you the same advice I gave them:


  1. Read the kind of books you want to write and learn to dissect them – what works and what doesn’t?  What do you like/dislike about the hero/heroine?  What is the pacing of the plot? How does the author evoke your emotions? 
  2. Read CRAFT books – like Donald Maas, and James Frey, and Sol Stein.  Apply their exercises to your work.
  3. Join a critique group who will give you honest feedback and help you grow.  Also, join an online group like ACFW for support and to increase your industry knowledge.
  4. Go to writer’s conferences, and soak up the information there.
  5. WRITE.  And submit, and keep writing. 
  6. Trust that God has a plan, and don’t give up. 


I really wish I’d started writing novels when I was 22!!  But it took me until my middle thirties to figure out that was what I wanted to do…so, go for it, and God bless you on the journey!


If you have a writing or publishing question (If I can’t answer it, I’ll track down someone who can!) please write to me at: susan@mybooktherapy.com and I’ll see if I can answer it





The Writer Inside


Q: What made you become a writer?


A:  I think a true writer can’t stop writing.  They love words, and stories, and the way they sing together.  I have been a story teller since my early days (just as my mother!) and have always loved a great tale.  But I have also loved to read, and not just novels, but poetry.  I love to weave a passage together to evoke a mood in a narrative piece, to write songs and poems, and how language can make us laugh out loud, or even cry when used correctly.   I have to write stories like a singer needs to sing, and a chef needs to cook.  I can’t NOT write, and even if I’m not writing…I’m writing. Or at least working on a story.    And, when I saw my daughter and son do the same thing, I realized, for the first time…I’m not weird!  (Okay, maybe a little, but I’m okay with that!) 

If you have a writing or publishing question (If I can’t answer it, I’ll track down someone who can!) please write to me at: susan@mybooktherapy.com and I’ll see if I can answer it!

Getting Started in Publishing

 Q: Was difficult to get your foot into publishing?

 A:  The publishing world can be extremely difficult break in to – at can seem as times as if there might be an invisible wall…however, it’s not as difficult as one might think.   It’s all about perspective.  Early on, Dee Henderson, who is one of my favorite writers, told me that the best thing I could do to get published was to write all sorts of things, for anyone I could, for free, if I had to.  So, that’s what I did – I started with my newsletter, (we were missionaries in Russia) and then I went on to a newsletter for my organization, then devotionals, then magazine articles, then novellas for contests…until finally, my writing had improved enough to catch the attention of an editor.  And even that was through a contest!  Those Nicholas Sparks stories of people sending in a book to a publisher and landing a cool mil for an advance is SO rare – the norm is that authors work for years and years behind the scenes before they are “discovered” and make it big.  So, I pass on that advice to you – Write, for anyone, all sorts of genres, let it hone your skill and build your audience, and keep walking through those open doors – who knows where you’re end up!



 If you have a writing or publishing question (If I can’t answer it, I’ll track down someone who can!) please write to me at: susan@mybooktherapy.com and I’ll see if I can answer it!