What challenges did you face as you wrote your book?

My biggest challenge in writing A Spark of Heavenly Fire was finding the beginning of the story. I liked the story, and I kept telling myself that if people could just get through the first fifty pages they would like the story, too. Then one day it dawned on me that the solution of getting readers to see the story beyond the less than sparkling beginning was to get rid of the first fifty pages. So I junked those early chapters, wrote a new beginning, and then the real challenge began — getting it published. After two hundred rejections, I finally found a publisher who loved the book.

Here are some challenges other authors faced as they wrote their books. The comments are taken from interviews posted at Pat Bertram Introduces . . .

From an interview with Gisela (Gigi) Sedlmayer, Author of “Talon, Come Fly With Me”

To face myself. When I started to write the book, I never thought of the things they came out then. I wanted to write an adventure story for children and see what came out of that. Because, like Matica, I was rejected in school, not because of the growth handicap she has. I had other things. I had to face what Matica is facing and learned, even from writing the book, more and more to cope with myself, to overcome my own rejection and to realise that I have survived a deadly disease.

From an interview with Louis Bertrand Shalako, Author of ‘Redemption: an Inspector Gilles Maintenon mystery’

I moved three times during the writing of the book, as well as cleaning out my father’s house and selling it. There were lots of disruptions and quite a bit of lost sleep.

From an interview with Viola Russell, Author of “Love at War”

The most difficult part was that I wanted to be accurate about the history and facts, and I tend to be a perfectionist. I’d be in the middle of a scene, and I’d then have to move quickly to the internet to confirm a detail. I wanted accuracy on things like the types of weapons the various armies used and on the various uniforms.

From an interview with Malcolm R. Campbell, Author of “Sarabande”

I write from a third person restricted point of view. This means that I am always with only one character from start to finish; everything in the book is filtered directly or indirectly through that character’s eyes, ears and thoughts. The challenge here, especially with some of the deeply personal women’s issues in the plot, was putting myself into a woman’s point of view and keeping it realistic. I did not want the book to sound like it was written by a man who was speculating about how a woman might talk, act, and re-act to the ordeals in the storyline. The challenge was making the story truly seem as though it were being told by a woman and that all of it rang true to the women reading the book.

From an interview with Noah Baird, Author of Donations to Clarity

I didn’t have people around who supported my writing. They weren’t taking it as seriously as I was. As a unpublished writer, it was difficult to convince them this was something I needed to do. It was also hard to know if the writing or the story was good. It takes a great deal of faith in yourself and the story to see it all of the way through.

So, what challenges did you face as you wrote your book?

(If you’d like me to interview you, please check out my author questionnaire http://patbertram.wordpress.com/author-questionnaire/ and follow the instruction.)

One Response to “What challenges did you face as you wrote your book?”

  1. Rod Marsden Says:

    In writing both Disco Evil and Ghost Dance the biggest challenge was keeping the historic details correct. You don’t even want to be a year out with your facts because it will spoil the book for some reader somewhere. For example I had young women running around in tank tops in Sydney, Australia in the 1970s but not in the USA in the same period. Doing my research I discovered that tank tops in the USA were only popular at a much later date.

    Of course you can have anachronisms in your books if you care to explain why they have popped up. There’s a movie in which, due to a rift in space and time, you have a helicopter buzzing about in WW1. Some science fiction or semi-science faction stories were ahead of their time when they were written. There is a Doc Savage adventure where the Doc has closed circuit television in his headquarters. If a future writer came along and wanted to do a Doc Savage adventure set in the late 1920s or early 1930s it wouldn’t matter that the use of closed circuit television was more or less still in the area of something for the future for most people. Doc is different because he is a genius and also it is okay because it has been established that Doc had a working prototype.

    In my latest as yet unpublished effort, Desk Job, the question was how to explain notions such as reverse racism and reverse sexism to readers who may not have encountered this sort of thing and even to readers who don’t believe that political correcness could create or at least perpetuate that sort of behaviour. I didn’t want to be forever explaining because that can be both dull writing and reading. Well, when time passed and I weighed up the books that have made me both laugh and think a way did present itself. I don’t ususally work in so many metaphors as I do in Desk Job. This has made the writing a unique adventure for me and I hope it will make for a unique read for lots of others.


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