Friday, July 11, 2008

A Few Thoughts

I have a couple things to blog about today. An author, generous with her time, offered to read the opening chapters to my new NIP (Novel in Progress). On my homepage, I have two novel offerings, and beneath the synopsizes I have 'Author Comments'. I wasn't 'blue' but I was feeling somewhat discouraged. You know those thoughts we writers deal with...'is my book any good? Maybe the reason my submissions are getting rejections is I suck'. Those kinds of crazy things.

Terri sent me back her comments and here is what she said. I know she hadn't set out to stroke my ego, but was clearly honest in her assessment of my work.

For my website:
From the first chapter, BESIDE
TWO RIVERS promises to be a very compelling story. It is beautifully and sensitively written, with masterful descriptive passages. I was immediately drawn in by interesting characterizations in an evocative setting. Wonderful handling of romantic elements. Great portrayal of the historical period. Love the opening poem. I look forward to reading the completed book!

Then she added some words of encouragement to me that lifted me out of a slump.
Off the record, I must say that your writing is so far superior to a lot of what I see in many historical fiction books currently being published. It's tight, not overworked or 'sappy', with judicious placement rather than overuse of adjectives and adverbs, and believable dialog, rather than what I so often see.

I'm sharing this not to toot my own horn. Rather I want you, as a writer, to do your best to think positively about your work. Give yourself a peptalk if need be. Think about the areas where you are the strongest. Also stick to your own style. Don't try to write like everyone else. Don't overwork your manuscript. And lastly, write first and foremost because you love to write.

Next, I've been getting a lot of comments from readers about the artwork I use on my blog, home site, and on Stepping Stones Magazine for Writers. Many of us use music to inspire us. I do, and I listen to a classical radio station out of England when I am at my keyboard. The soaring musical scores cause my heart to flutter and the words pour out. Art can does the same, but in a gently subtle way. Portraits especially, give me a visual of characters, place, setting, and time. They aid in research for clothing, hairstyles, jewelry, etc. I've include on this blog just a few of my favorites.


J. M. Hochstetler said...


Writing is such a lonely profession that when someone takes the time to encourage us, it truly lifts us up. I'm so glad God sent you those kind words today! I hate to think of all the times I've been in the same exact place you are--and I know I will be again. I guess it's a hazard of the job.

It's exactly why I finally felt compelled to found Sheaf House. I know there is so much good work that's not getting to the market, so many writers who are faithfully writing the vision God has placed on their hearts. Please pray for the success of this venture. I so much want this to be an open door for excellent writers, but we need sales to continue. That's just a fact of life. We need to put SH in a position of visibility to attract readers.

Sincerely, once I am able to take on more submissions, I would love to talk to you about your projects. You know I have a tender heart for historicals!

And btw, I love the images you post too!

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...


When you made that request on the historical loop, I so much wanted to volunteer. I'm recovering from an eye infection right now and I'm having to limit my time on the computer and can wear my contacts. If you need reads in the future, please keep me in mind. I have a few critique partners, but most of them write contemporary more than they write historicals.

I understand the slumps. This past week I receivd a rejection that my agent forwarded to me. An editor had requested a complete manuscript that placed third in the Genesis last year. It even went to committee, which made me feel like I was so close! But then it didn't make it.

While I grieved over the rejection, I still felt hope since I'd never had a manuscript go to committee before. I've had requests for completes, but this made me feel like I was one notch closer. Writing is a hard business, but we have to remember that God is in control and it will happen when its the right time with the right editor at the right publishing house.

Congrats on the great comments on your work. If we perservere, we'll make it!

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Oops, it was supposed to say can't wear contacts.