Monday, March 4, 2013
“Winds of Wyoming,” my first novel, debuted on January 2, 2012. From that moment on, I promised readers a sequel would soon follow. After all, I’d learned much about writing fiction while penning the first book, and I knew what would happen in the next phase of my heroine’s life. All I had to do was input those events into my computer. Surely, I could crank out the second novel in a matter of months.
As you may guess, I discovered that writing the sequel, “Winds of Freedom,” was just as hard as writing the first book. Others may hop on the fiction train and never fall off, never falter in their production. But my struggle to get the story out of my head and into a form others could comprehend tossed me from the fiction train onto a hay wagon pulled by a donkey that took three steps backward for every step forward.
Okay, so I admit I’m the donkey. Several factors played into my fiction-challenged head while writing and rewriting “Winds of Freedom.” 1) I’m still learning. Though some may be naturals at writing fiction, I have to work at it and constantly educate myself on the subject. 2) I created a vague outline for the sequel—but details were sketchy. Many authors thrive with that method, yet I can see how much easier the process would have been if I’d thought through specifics in advance. 3) My editor’s comments threw me into a tailspin. After years of writing for the nonfiction market, I thought I had fairly thick writer’s skin; however, his observations were blunt, and I couldn’t see how to incorporate his suggestions into the story without starting over.
In addition to developing thick skin, writers must also employ perseverance. I eventually plowed through the editor’s comments and suggestions, reworked or deleted several scenes, filled in missing details and added a couple scenes. Thanks to the editing process, the story is much, much stronger.
Currently, “Winds of Freedom” is in the hands of a half-dozen wonderful proofreaders. After I receive their suggestions and make appropriate changes, the story will finally be on its way to the publisher. The hay wagon is almost there. I can see the hitching post on the horizon!
Rebecca Carey Lyles is a freelance writer and editor whose articles and stories have appeared in magazines and compilations. In addition to her novels, she’s also written two nonfiction books, “It’s a God Thing! Inspiring Stories of Life-Changing Friendships” and "On a Wing and a Prayer: Stories from Freedom Fellowship, a Prison Ministry." She and her husband, Steve, live in beautiful Boise, Idaho.
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“Winds of Wyoming” – Fresh out of a Pennsylvania penitentiary armed with a marketing degree, Kate Neilson heads to Wyoming anticipating an anonymous new beginning as a guest-ranch employee. A typical twenty-five-year-old woman might be looking to lasso a cowboy, but her only desire is to get on with life on the outside—despite her growing interest in the ranch owner. When she discovers a violent ex-lover followed her west, she fears the past she hoped to hide will trail as close as a shadow and imprison her once again.