Friday, October 18, 2013

Embarking on a Perilous Journey by Gabrielle Meyer (and a giveaway!)

Casey here: I hope you've had the chance to meet Gabrielle Meyer at least once. And if you haven't be sure and it put her on your "people to meet list" the next time you attend ACFW (or whichever conference you both might be attending). I think she's awesome. Gorgeous. Talented. Smart. Gifted. She is represented by Mary Keeley of Books and Such Literary Agency after all. ;-) Anyway, I'm excited to share her post with you today. Be sure and leave a comment below to enter to win MaryLu Tyndall's The Red Siren. :-)

I’m about to embark on a perilous journey. It will be the third time I’ve gone on this trip, and each time I set out I feel the same mixture of apprehension and excitement.

I have a map, and I know what my final destination is, but I have no idea what adventures will meet me along the way. I’m sure I’ll encounter memorable characters, I’ll be swept away by a great romance, and I’ll feel a plethora of emotions—but this journey will undoubtedly be unlike any of the others I’ve taken.

Photo Credit
The last time I traveled this way I learned a great many things. I learned there were some shortcuts, but often the best course wasn’t the easiest one. There were bumps, a few road blocks, some detours, and of course, I had to stop often to ask for directions, but I eventually made it to the end.

This will be my third quest to write a brilliant novel, a story that will brim with tension, romance, and redemption. A tale that will make my agent gasp in unbelief, cause an editor to jump up from his desk and run to his pub board, and grip my readers well into the wee hours of the morn.

It’s a dangerous calling, but someone must do it.


Sometimes I shake my head when I think about this daunting journey. As a historical romance writer, I used to think the journey should be perfectly magical. My first novel was written after ten years of contemplation, plotting, and research. I worked on it occasionally while having babies. But when I finally became serious, and planned to take it to ACFW, it took me about eight weeks to write.

The story poured off my fingertips and onto the screen *almost* effortlessly. It was well received at ACFW and it landed me my lovely agent.

Magical, right?After finishing that first journey, I thought writing each new novel would be just the same.

Um, no.

When I embarked on writing book two, it was not the same journey. I had the final destination in mind, but the road I took was much—much—different.

For weeks I stared at the computer and agonized over the story. Why wasn’t it “pouring” forth like my last one? Why did the road twist and turn without mercy? And where did these steep hills come from?
This journey was much harder than the last.

My husband had to point out the obvious. I had contemplated my first story for ten years before I actually wrote it. But my second story had only been in my head for three weeks before I started pounding away on the keys. I was discovering my story as I went along.

In the dawning light of understanding, I came to realize every book writing experience is going to be different. I will never take the same path twice. I might learn more skills, develop my voice, and deepen my characters, but I won’t ever stop learning how to write a good story.

Every journey will be filled with its own peril—and its own magic. I should never compare one to the other, because each experience will stretch me and challenge me in ways I couldn’t comprehend when I begin—but that’s what makes the journey worth taking.

As I set out on writing book three, I’m just as apprehensive and excited as usual, but I’m thankful I have more experience. It has made me, and my writing, much stronger as I face the journey ahead.

What about you? Has each book taken you on a different journey? What was one of the hardest lessons you learned along the way? What was one of the best lessons you learned?

Gabrielle Meyer lives in Minnesota on the banks of the Mississippi River with her husband and four young children, including three year old twin boys. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society for ten years, and the Morrison County Historical Society for two years, she fell in love with the rich history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by actual events. In her “free” time she enjoys volunteering for her church and community and is a big fan of MOPS and AWANA. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter or her blog.


Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Gabrielle, welcome to The Alley! I remember starting my second story and how hard it was. I was scared the second time around...not sure what the fear was from...maybe that I might not have any more good stories to share. I don't know, but I totally understand! Ca't wait to see what God will do with your stories!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

So happy to have you here! And I loved hearing about your journey. I can definitely relate. I didn't brainstorm at all but wrote my first book in 6 weeks with a newborn and toddler. Book two I'd done a lot more thinking about, and it took several months. At first I was frustrated by the pace and the change, since I assumed each would be a similar experience. Book three took almost 6 months! But you're right. Each book has its own journey. And you learn something new to apply with each story, so inevitably there is less editing in the long run... that's a definite perk! Thanks for being our guest, Gabe!

Gabrielle Meyer said...

Thank you, Casey, Sherrinda, and Amy for such a warm welcome and such kind words. :) I'm honored to be a guest here at The Writer's Alley!

I'm so happy I'm not alone in the writing experience. Isn't it amazing how God uses each book to mold and shape us into better writers and people? We have much to learn--and many more journeys to take! So thankful I've been able to journey alongside all of you. :)

Unknown said...

I read this and found myself bobbing my head up and down, Gabe. Writing my second book was nothing like writing the first. It was SO much harder. I think part of what makes each subsequent book a new challenge is that we learn more with each one and with each one we're determined to get better. I've given up the idea that it's ever going to be "easy." But then, what kind of boring journey would it be if it was easy??

Cannot wait for the day your books hit shelves!!

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing your journey, Gabrielle! It IS amazing how God uses writing to mold and shape us ~ I'm thankful for Him every day.

I'm also thankful for His direction to meet YOU on my beginner-writer journey. You are truly an inspiration to me, and I'm sure many others. Cannot wait to be able to purchase one of your books . . . I'll be across town, on your doorstep, begging you to sign it.

Hope you have a wonderful day! Blessings to you ~ Kimberly

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Gabe, what a beautiful post. My first book was re-written a few times, but once I landed what the story needed to be, I wrote it in 5 1/2 weeks. Revisions? Well, those took a lot longer. :)

Based on how fast I was able to type out my first book, I figured the rough draft of the second book would be just as easy. It wasn't. I'm at 12 weeks and counting, but I believe the story is much better for the starts and stops I've had on this book's journey.

I'm so looking forward to reading your books!!!

Beth K. Vogt said...

I just turned in copy edits on novel #3 -- and I told my husband that I wrote and rewrote this book more than any other book I've written. And I worked on book #1 for three years.
Each book has been a different experience, but my biggest goal is to become a better writer with each successive book.
I've also changed my "how I write a book" process along the way too. I went from rough drafting to fast drafting -- and I love that!

Lindsay Harrel said...

Yes, Gabe...same here. I remember the pure joy in writing my first book, and thinking it was as good as I could get it. I laugh at that now. :) I've learned a LOT in the last few years and am excited to apply that as I also begin my third book soon!

And like I've always said, so glad to be on this journey with amazing friends like you! It makes all the detours and flat tires bearable. :)

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Beth, what is the different between rough drafting and fast drafting? I haven't heard of that before?

Gabrielle Meyer said...

Melissa, you're absolutely right! I've learned so many things since that first book, but I think that's another reason why I thought it would be "easier" to write the second--I knew more! Not the case. It actually makes it harder. We want the next book to be better, so we work at applying everything we've learned. But that's what makes our job so interesting! :)

Kimberly, I'm so happy you stopped by to say hello!! This is a great blog for you to get to know other writers and learn about the publishing journey. I'm also happy God brought our paths together. I hope you're on my front step BEFORE you come with a book to be signed! :) I'd love to sit down and chat about your writing. So happy I have another writer in my hometown I can connect with.

Jeanne, I hear you! Like I said to Melissa, I think part of us expects that second book to be easier to write because we've already finished one. The reason it's harder is because we know so much more the second (third, fourth, fifth) time around. I have a feeling the book you're writing now is going to be amazing!

Beth, I hope and pray I become a better writer with each subsequent book too. As I set out to write book three, I'm hoping to apply everything I've learned and stretch myself even further. I'd like to know the difference between rough drafting and fast drafting too!

Lindsay, oh yes, those pesky flat tires! :) I'm so thankful you're one of my travel companions. Even as we sit and wait for those tires to be changed, it's a lot more fun having you to keep me company. :) I love that we're both at the same place: setting out on book number three! Praying for your journey!!

karenk said...


I loved this posting...and I also enjoy visiting your on your blog. I cannot wait to read your masterpiece, too :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Oh, this was fantastic, Gabrielle. I've loved reading all the comments, too. It sounds like lots of us have had a similar experience where Book One flowed a lot faster and easier. I was the same. I wonder why that is? Beginner's confidence? I guess it's a lot easier splashing words on the page when you have no idea what you're doing and are blissfully unaware that you're most likely doing everything "wrong"! Ha! Interesting phenomenon.

Gabrielle Meyer said...

Karen K., thank you! I enjoy visiting with you. :)

Karen S., isn't it strange? I've found quite a few things that many beginners experience. I guess it's all part of the learning process. I think you're absolutely right--it's a lot easier to write a book when you don't realize you're doing most of it wrong! :)