What was the ‘myth’ I believed about being an author? That it was a solitary task. In one sense it is – for large stretches of time BUT it is also a huge TEAM effort.
Really that shouldn’t have been a surprise for isn’t that how God works? Through a community. Over the last four years as I’ve practiced and worked towards producing a novel (very much like childbirth but much longer), God has brought person after person into the process.
A short list of some of the team members in the early stages
1. A neighbour – I’d just decided to have breast cancer as a major element in the story. The lady who ‘happened’ to live next to me in 2013 had just completed chemotherapy. She graciously allowed me to interview her for several hours and some of her observations are used in the novel.
2. A breast cancer specialist – he just ‘happened’ to be a prayer supporter of mine. He was enthusiastic about the story and served as my medical expert answering all sorts of chemo and surgery related questions for the time period of the book – 1995 rather than 2015.
3. Cancer blogs and websites – I found these via using the internet. What a privilege to live at a time where research is so much easier than the past. I looked up topics like: –
*side effects of various chemo drugs
*wigs and headgear
I feel like I’ve had cancer and gone through the whole process. The writer’s of all that information aren’t even aware that they were part of my team.
4. Author tools online
Google helped me find the ‘snowflake’ method that I used to plan and outline the novel.
A short list of some of the team members in the later stages
5. Mentors from competitions – Many of the competitions I’ve entered have given me feedback. All of it has improved my writing. The first competition I entered promised a mentor if we reached the final. Mine was in the US and we communicated via email.
6. Beta readers – these are people who have read early drafts of the book and given me feedback. Each person has had a specialty. One was good at realistic dialogue for the ages/personality of my characters. Another spotted inaccurate medical details.
7. Other authors – in October 2015, God led me to a facebook group called ‘Australasian Christian Writers.’ They share many useful articles and have shown me I’m not alone. They are a group of ‘cheerleaders’ working hard to encourage us southern writers to write with excellence.
8. Online podcasts – Recently I have been listening to many podcasts about marketing and publishing. I’ve also watched lots of ‘how to’ videos and benefitted immensely.
9. Professional editors & designers – Iola in New Zealand, Cecily & Joy in Australia. I know that some people have awful experiences with editors …but I am so grateful that God led me to suitable people who worked well with me. It is often just a personality thing and we’ve learned to adjust to each other method’s. I am conscious that without these last three my book wouldn’t have been much good. They found the diamond and helped me polish it. Really their names should be on the cover with mine.
And many, many more.