The Critique

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

Tears welled in my eyes as I walked to my car after the writers’ critique group this past week.  We made writer’s small talk as we laughed.  Finally, I had broken away.  I hoped my mask didn’t slip too much.

I calmed down by talking to God for thirty-minute drive home.  I still felt like a failure.  I wanted to give up.

The eldest prince was home.  I explained how chapter one didn’t have enough action.  “For goodness sakes, it’s a stakeout!”  I fumed.  “The dull activity gives the main character, Jax, a chance to think through his cases.  At this point, he doesn’t know the cases are related!”

The Eldest Prince is one of my Beta-Readers.  He asked me what the group had said.  I described how the group didn’t seem to like the questions left hanging.  They wanted a hook and action in that first chapter.  The upshot is it wasn’t good enough.

To my surprise, he disagreed with the overall assumption to start with the action.  He told me the feedback to streamline the sentences was good.  And the advice to add a little more of the protagonist, Elisa, into Jax’s thoughts was sound.  The Prince also encouraged me to believe in myself.

I felt better about my writing.  A little bit of joy settled like a good book inside me.  He told me to wait and got his copy of “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien.  He loves books that immerse him in the story.  He knows I’m not a big reader of fantasy or sci-fi, so he laughed when I frowned at the thought of reading The Lord of the Rings.

“Mom, just read the prologue, its fifteen pages of Hobbits.  The book really isn’t about Hobbits.  But, it is important to the story.”

Cautiously I took the book from his hand.  My little piece of joy was settling with Tolkien and a cup of tea now.  The spark of joy growing into comfort got me wondering about rejoicing when it’s not easy to rejoice.

This morning instead of following my word study, I asked the Holy Spirit to guide me. “How do I rejoice when I don’t feel it?”  I brought up my word search and started looking at the New Testament verses on my list.  I kept thinking of James.

“But Lord, James isn’t on my list?”  I asked in typical Milly style!

The next thought was “count it all joy…”  I thought for a moment.  “I remember that one!”  I looked it up:

James 1:2-8 [NKJV]: Profiting from Trials

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

We are instructed to count it joy when things work against us.  I find this counterintuitive.  It doesn’t feel right at the time.  This is why I don’t like learning patience.  Yet, when I look back, I rejoice because something good comes out of the testing.  I am stronger and wiser.  The hard part is to rejoice during the trial.

This step also comes with a warning.  We must ask for wisdom in faith without doubting.  If we doubt we lose our faith and our joy.  Then it is even harder to rejoice.  I figured out what happened that night.

I reacted like a human.  The criticism stung.  I had asked God to help me with rewriting this book as a Christian fiction suspense novel.  I still had doubts.  My doubts were proven that night.  I was the wave.  I was tossed about in an emotional sea.

I am ashamed to admit, I have not prayed every time I sat down to rewrite this book.  Yes, the story is mine.  I have invited the Holy Spirit to take part in the endeavor.  He and I are working together to bring the dream to fruition.  He created my mind to create the stories.  The story is His.  The story is my dream.

I learned I need to invite the Holy Spirit to write with me daily.  Much like I ask God to bless my food before I eat.  When I ask for this wisdom, my faith must be without doubt.  I believe he provides the wisdom I need liberally.

The reason to rejoice during the trials and testings is they bring strength, knowledge, and rewards.  God provides wisdom when we ask with faith.  Keep your eye on the Star.

Let’s be confident in our dreams as we stand in faith,


Note:  I am heading up to the mountains this week.  I am hoping to post my travels as long as the internet holds.  {wink}  I will post when I can.  God Bless!

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