Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group - January 2015

Another year, another month, another contribution to the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by our wonderful Alex http://www.alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com.

By way of introduction, I have been writing since 1999. Aside from articles and essays, I published a memoir, "Following the Whispers," in 2009. I am currently writing my first novel (after 35 or so years writing non-fiction). The process is not pretty, which leads me to my post for this month. But before that, I'll say I am happily married, live in Albuquerque, NM, enjoy folk dancing, singing, reading, hiking, and hanging out with friends.

I thought I was done. After five years, multiple rounds with my editor, losing count of how many drafts, I was ready to publish. Until I decided to hire someone to help research small publishers. To do that, she needed to read the book. And when she did, she had a few thoughts. Her thought about the last part of my book was that it felt like a different story--like it didn't belong in this book. Ugh!
But when I reflected upon her thoughts, I remembered that my idea for the last section of the book came from a story I had written in a college fiction class. It felt right when I was writing the first draft of my novel to include it. And I never questioned it. But she was right.

So now I am going inward and allowing this last part of my story to emerge. Organically. Authentically. From the same place the other two parts came. My same old insecurities have emerged. Will it come? Will it be any good? Can I do it? I already know the answers to these questions. Yes, Yes and yes. I just have to keep reminding myself.

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

32 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Yeses for all the questions! And I know your final section of the book will be better for it.

Arlee Bird said...

Sounds like what I might do--hate it when that happens. It can work in the right hands I think. The story line switch in the middle of Lynch's films Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway worked well for a lot of people including me, but they are also often misunderstood and maligned films. A lot can depend on the audience you're trying to reach and the point you're trying to make at the end.

But if your reader pointed this "flaw" out to you then it's work taking another look at and maybe even getting some other opinions from readers with different tastes.

You'll make it!

Lee
Tossing It Out

Karen Walker said...

Elizabeth, I think it will be better for it!
Lee, another treasured reader told me she agreed but had been unwilling to tell me so originally - she felt it was my story to tell.

Joss said...

It can be hard to make changes, even if we can see they need to be made. I always worry that if I make one change I will go OTT and start changing everything. It's hard sometimes not to get to precious about a book and also not to be a bit blind to some parts of it that don't quite work. It sounds like you did the right thing though by asking others for their opinion. Hope the changes go well and are not to stressful :)

Murees Dupé said...

I think you will do a great job of bringing about the changes in your manuscript. I admire you for even thinking of changing certain parts. I have a hard time letting go of words I slaved over, even though I know cutting them might be the right thing. Wishing you many blessing.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I'm sure you'll feel so much better about the book when you make the changes. Good luck.

Tracy Jo said...

Yes! It is so hard to dig deep, especially when it is personal but so freeing too! I know it's going to be wonderful and can't wait to read it. Happy 2015!

~Sia McKye~ said...

It will come because you've planted the seeds for your mind to work with.

Go Karen!

Sia McKye Over Coffee

Sarah Foster said...

It's really scary to have to revamp your ending (I'm kind of going through something similar), but if you feel that you're headed down the right path, then it's probably what you need to do. You know your book better than anyone so you'll know what will work for it.

Jacqui said...

That is difficult--you think you're done, and then get this idea from someone that resonates alarm bells with you. Been there. I have a book I've re-written too many times to think about. I'm afraid to show it to others for fear they'll say, "you know what would be good..." and be right.

Good luck with these changes!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Tough when you thought you were done, but better to fix it now rather than later after either a ton of rejections or a slew of bad reviews.

Suzanne Furness said...

Sometimes it takes some helpful feedback to lead us in the best direction. Sounds like you have made the right decision and one you are now comfortable with. Love the YES attitude, go for it, Karen.

Happy New Year.

cleemckenzie said...

A lot of different readers allows you to go so much deeper into a story. Good for you. Here's to a super final ms.

Karen Walker said...

Love you guys - thanks for the support

Rachna Chhabria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Karen, its good that you are fixing your story now and avoiding the bad reviews.
Yes, you can do it and you will do it!

LD Masterson said...

I know what it's like to think you're all done and realize you're not. But you know all those right answers (yes, yes, and yes) so just keep moving forward and it will happen.

Liz Fichera said...

Guidance from a trusted editor is worth its weight in gold.

Happy New Year, Karen!

Bish Denham said...

Having someone else read your stuff is always helpful. I know you will find your way!

Stephen Tremp said...

Ho Karen, Happy New Years to you and yours! I echo Liz's comment above. You have to have that trusted editor. I have one I trust fully.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Yeses for the questions! Happy 2015 and Best Wishes with your writing!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

You've worked on it for years. A few more months to get it just right is fine. You want it to be your best.

Corinne OFlynn said...

Goodness, I know the feeling of facing a rewrite. But good for you for seeing through the daunting aspects to what your book truly needs. It will come. And yes, you can do it! Happy New Year!

Suzanne Sapsed said...

I am really enjoying the non-conventional bits of this months hop, finding out a bit of personal stuff is like peeking through someone's window - oh no, I'm a closet peeping Tom lol! xx

Liza said...

Having faith in yourself is so important!

Julie Musil said...

Yes, yes, and yes! Of course you can do it! Isn't it amazing what another set of fresh eyes can do? I'm confident you'll add just the right finishing touches to the manuscript. Good luck!

Pearson Report said...

You'll do it Karen - you've got the right attitude.
Cheers, Jenny

Tonja said...

It will be amazing!

Carol Kilgore said...

Trusting ourselves is often hard to do. But absolutely necessary.

Shelina Valmond said...

Re-writing to make your story better is always the right choice. Only when you lose track of how many times you've edited is it getting close to a story worth reading. Congratulations on making a better story, it's going to be from who you are today and it will no doubt surprise you.

Julie Flanders said...

I was thinking, yes, yes and yes as I read your questions. Great answers. :)

Jennifer Chandler said...

It is a dangerous business letting your story take over BUT it is the only way you can allow your story to tell the truth and to emerge as real as possible. It is a very brave thing you're doing and I wish you the best! How exciting!!

Happy New Year,
Jen