So what’s this about a novel being written twenty years ago but I’m still working on it? In one sense that is true, but it is a bit of an exaggeration. The hard work I’m pouring into it now has not been going on for twenty years.
In the beginning I made a couple of forays into finding a publisher, but I didn’t know much about what I was doing. In the meantime, through all those years, I’ve been busy with the full-time ministry to which God called Fred and me in 1970. Though I had a handful of things published — devotionals, adult Sunday school lessons, some teen programs, I wasn’t trying to "establish a writing career.”
Though I started Tangled Strands on a typewriter, the bulk of it was written after I got into computers. That was after I taught myself word processing, step by painful step, straight out of a loose-leaf manual in a three-ring binder. The novel, in a separate file for each chapter, was carefully save on my computer. Through the years as I got new or upgraded word processing software, I opened each chapter and saved it to the new version.
Along the way, I picked up more about how things should be done, and I set myself to applying what I learned. One I remember was about “speaker attributions” (though I didn’t learn that term at that time). Instead of saying, “Larry said…Sally said…Chris asked” and the like, you avoid boredom by showing them doing something that cues the reader to who is speaking.
Example: Mollie took a sip of her coffee. “Do you really think that’s a good idea?”
What I didn’t know was that behind the scenes a revolution was taking place. Not only was Christian fiction changing in character and quality, but our culture itself was changing, a lot of it as a result of television. The bits and pieces I was learning were only a sample of a whole lot more to come and of ways I was going to have to make huge changes--not in my story but in how I told it. Again, stayed tuned, and we'll see if we can walk through it hand in hand.