Remember this lady? If you’re a regular here or in ChristianWriters.com, you know her. She’s my critique partner, one of my AuthorCulture partners, and my absolute favorite novelist, Katie Weiland.
Last year, I interviewed her in a post simply titled “Katie (Tarin) Weiland.” Back in January, I announced that she was “Finally Taking the Plunge!” In July, I warned you, “Behold! It’s Coming . . . ”
And now, it’s here. The reason for all the hype! Katie’s novel Behold the Dawn debuts this month!
Katie is beginning her blog tour this month and she’ll be giving away free copies of her novel. Actually, her first giveaway tourstop is October 3 in Aggie Villanueva’s blog, Visual Arts Junction, so be sure to stop by and sign up for a chance in the drawing.
For me, though, Katie has prepared a special blessing: A peek in her writer’s journal. I think you’re going to enjoy this!
Journal of a Novel
On the eleventh of January 2005, I began two things that would leave a permanent mark on my life: a writing journal and the novel that would become Behold the Dawn. For the previous year and a half, I had labored on the character sketches, outline, and research for my epic medieval novel. My characters were springing to life more vividly than those in any story I’d written before: Marcus Annan, the guilt-ridden competitor in the condemned tourneys; Lady Mairead, an English countess on the run in the Holy Land; Peregrine Marek, Annan’s mouthy, precocious servant; and Gethin the Baptist, the mysterious monk with a hidden agenda. They took over the telling of the tale without so much as a by-your-leave to me. I was in love with the setting, in love with my characters, and completely overwhelmed with this giant mouthful of a story I had bitten off.
Four years, countless edits, and numerous adventures later, I’m flipping through that notebook and getting a tremendous kick out of my writerly angst. You want drama? Conflict? A very distressed and unintentionally amusing narrator? Check, check, and check. Forget fiction—this nearly illegible journal of mine has it all!
Day 1: I’m soooo excited about this story! I think it has the potential to be the best thing I’ve ever written.
Day 2: I hate beginnings…
Day 3: I feel like a blind man on the edge of a cliff. I so totally don’t know what I’m doing!
Day 7: I read somewhere that writers who take risks are the writers who break boundaries and write the best and most memorable stories. I never understood that before. But I think I’m beginning to. With this book—and I’m only a chapter and a half into it—I feel like I’m throwing everything out the window and then jumping after it. They say that’s how to write good books. What they don’t say is how to keep your sanity in the meantime!
Day 14: Suddenly—for very possibly the first time in my life—I’m in love with that one little word: rewrite! I’ve decided to edit this thing a chapter at a time.
Day 15: Okay, so I’ve changed my mind about editing it a chapter at a time. I’m back to the race-through-it-as-fast-as-I-can idea.
Day 16: Scratch that scratch I wrote yesterday about not editing each chapter individually.
Day 38: Wee! Great writing session yesterday!
Day 52: Guess what? I am having FUN!
Day 60: Thank heaven for rewrites.
Day 84: Oh, I had so much fun yesterday! That’s what writing is all about. I haven’t yet read over what I wrote, so I don’t know how good it is, but right now I don’t even care! It was just beautiful is all.
Day 91: This is really tough.
Day 100: This remains difficult.
Day 102: Rewrite time! (Surprise, surprise…)
Day 183: So far so good on the changes.
Day 205: Editing really stinks.
Day 234 I’m scared. Today, Lord willing, I start a new chapter. It’s easy, and even fun, to proofread stuff that makes you go, “Hmm, that’s not too bad.” But trying to continue the trend of the “not too bad”—that’s kinda scary. I know it has to be done—and I won’t stall or quibble. I’ll swallow my fear, like I always do—and must do—and just write. And maybe the magic will come once again… and I’ll laugh at myself for ever being scared.
Day 235: Well, I guess it wasn’t all that scary.
Day 242: Oh, I’m loving this! This is why I slog through the bad days to reach the pieces that just sing! At last, it’s all starting to come together. Who knows, from here to the end, maybe everything will sing!
Day 299: I am happy to be writing. I laugh (right now) at the angst of a few months ago. I don’t feel that way right now. But I guess that’s why I’m keeping this journal—to remind myself that the bad times always have an end! Anyway, I’m just happy.
Day 354: Here I am—almost a year later, writing what may well be the final entry in my little saga about a saga. Overall, I am extremely (and surprisingly) pleased with it, although it has yet to pass the test of other readers. Thank you, Lord. All praise goes to You. I can’t even believe sometimes that I actually wrote some of those words. It’s been a good journey. I’m sorry it’s over, but more than ready to go onto new challenges!
Katie has a list of blog tour stops on her site, Wordplay, but if you don’t want to wait for a drawing, hit Amazon.com. You can find her book there. When you read it–and you really should, it’s great–let me know what you think. I’d love to print your review of it here in Peppermint Place!
Thanks for sharing your writer’s journal, Katie. Scary. For a minute or two, I thought some of this had come from my own journal. 🙂 Did you peak at mine? 😉
I’m sure I’ll love Behold as much as I did Outlaw.
Yeah, it is kinda scary, isn’t it? :p One of the things I love best about reading (and writing) about the writing life is discovering that all this weirdness that is me is shared almost to the T by all these other writer folks!
I just came from ordering your book and I’m looking forward to the adventure of reading it.
You deserve all the success I anticipate is in store for you.
Thanks so much, Shaddy! I hope you enjoy it! 😀
Waaaay too many entries remind me of my writing experiences. I’d love to start a journal about writing Corporate Ladder and see how many entries reveal a woman chewing her nails for lunch!
Thanks for the post, Katie. And thanks for graciously omitting any entries referring to crit partners and hit men…
Fingernail sandwiches… yummy…
Fortunately for my lovely crit partners, I don’t journal when editing and rewriting. Besides, recording the phone numbers of my hit men would be a little too risky. 😉
Ha! Great post, Katie. Thanks for being willing to throw everything out the window and jump after it. I’m looking forward to reading this book. 🙂
Oh, yes, jumping out the window is always fun – so long as you remember your parachute! Thanks for stopping by, Lynnette. 🙂
Wow, Katie! 🙂 I’ve never thought of keeping a writing journal before, but I’m sure if I did, mine would look remotely similar to yours. 😀 Though, my beginnings and ends are easiest for me–especially the ends. It’s slogging through the middle that I hate! 😀
Thanks for letting us peek inside your process. 🙂
Glad you enjoyed the peek, Liberty! 😀 As you’ve probably gathered from other posts on my blog, I’m a big fan of the general organization a journal brings to my writing. It’s such a time saver to be able to scribble my way out of plot holes *before* I start writing – instead of trying to figure them out while also crafting a full-fledged scene.
Liberty, middles get me too. Probably why my books always end up so short!