And… we’re diving right in!
I’m so excited for Story Sunday #3! But first…
I want to say a huge thank you so much for the out-of-this-world support on Friday’s post, my predictions for When Calls the Heart season 8. (You can read that post HERE if you haven’t already.) I honestly just wrote that post for fun and didn’t expect such a response. There was so much support on it, I almost couldn’t believe. When I saw the number of views and the number of people who visited, I was just like WOW. It was CRAZY and made me so happy! I loved fangirling with everyone in the comments, both on the site and on Twitter. I even got a quote tweet and 4 retweets on Twitter! I want to say thank you so much to everyone.
(By the way, if you’re not following me on Twitter, click right HERE to do so!)
Now for the third ever Story Sunday!
Here are all the details on this week’s writing.
Number of words written: 4,425 words. To be honest, I was disappointed at this because I thought I would get so much more written. But I know God is leading me in his own good pace and his own good time, and as long as I work to glorify him he will do great things through my feeble work. I’ve been trying not to be so hard on myself, knowing that he wouldn’t be pleased by how I usually beat myself up when I don’t reach my goals.
What I did: Edited and rewrote Chapter 4 of The Apostle’s Sister. Out of the first four chapters, this was the second hardest to edit. Chapter 3 was the hardest of all, but Chapter 4 is a close second.
Highlights: Although Chapter 4 is immensely tough to write, I also thoroughly enjoyed the wrestle. It’s hard to write because it’s so packed with emotion. There isn’t nearly as much action as there is in Chapter 3, but that brings a different kind of difficulty. I actually find emotional scenes more difficult to write than the quick-paced, action-packed ones. Chapter 4 is when Temira realizes that she really does love her brother, and feels horribly guilty that she may never get the chance to apologize to him. There are touching scenes between brother and sister, although Temira inadvertently hurts Paul even more than she has yet. That adds a very interesting element and further conflict to the chapter.
Any profound thoughts? I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting and praying on my future and the futures of my St. Paul novels. Right now I won’t discuss details, but after I’ve had more time to see clearly, I will probably share my feelings with you all.
On another note, I thought this week about how we think in awe: “What would it have been like to be St. Paul’s sister or nephew?” In fact, that’s what sparked the idea for TAS in the first place! But in reality, who views one of their family members as other-worldly? There’s just too much familiarity in those relationships! Of course, we’re naturally in awe of Paul and are awed at the prospect of being his sister or nephew. But I know I don’t idolize my family members, and when others express admiration for them I’m honestly surprised. I know that may sound weird, but think about it for a moment! I’m sure you’ll find it’s the same with you.
Temira was Paul’s sister, and she adored him as little sisters adore their brothers, but she was not blinded by her adoration. She still saw him as just her brother, whom she had known since he was a mere boy. She knew many parts of him, including his flaws. She did greatly admire him and saw him as extraordinary, and she did think that no sister ever had such cause to be proud. But to her, he was firstly her brother, not firstly the great apostle.
As for Seth, he of course loved Paul as a child loves his parent. But no child consciously idolizes his parent. To Seth, Paul was just his uncle. He didn’t understand the enormity of Paul’s mission, nor was he really focused on his uncle’s reputation and miracles; Paul was merely “Uncle Paul” to him. (As you shall see in the upcoming diary entry.)
I was just thinking over all that and had to smile. I really want to portray in my books that Paul was firstly known to Temira and Seth as a tender brother and parent, not as a miracle-worker. That’s the way it would have been. I make it my mission to portray Bible figures as relatable flesh-and-blood beings who were just like us, and we’re not in awe of our siblings and parents. They’re just that – our siblings and parents. And I imagine Paul would have been uncomfortable with his own sister and nephew pressing close to him, striving to touch his robes for healing as the crowds did. The crowds took and emotional toll on him and he would have liked to get away from that for rest and among people who wouldn’t be so awed and terrified of him.
I hope everything I just said actually made sense….
Now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for! How did everyone vote on Story Sunday Survey #2? Which diary entry is the winner?
Everyone yelling: Just say it already, JC!
Okay, okay. Oh, who am I fooling? I’m so excited to announce today’s diary entry!
*realizing that everyone already knows what it is because of the post excerpt*
*announcing it anyway because that’s fun*
This week, the majority voted for a diary entry from Seth on his thoughts about his adoption. I hope you guys enjoy it! Please tell me what you think, and if there’s anything I can improve on in my writing about Seth. I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!
This diary entry turned out to be 667 words, which I feel is a good word count. I want to keep these diary entries around 500-600 words, and last week I failed miserably, LOL.
Without further ado, here is the diary entry!
“It’s always the Christians who take them in.”
I remember hearing that voice as if it had happened yesterday, not four – nearly five – years ago.
I felt Mama stiffen. “What do you mean?” She held me away from the woman who stood looking down at me in disgust.
The woman’s laughter grated. “Leaving children – especially sickly, starving ones – is not something that began only last week. Little Temira, are you so naïve? Even if you are the apostle’s sister.”
My new mother touched my cheek with her cool fingers and gazed up at the stranger. She said nothing, but I sensed the tension that had never wrapped itself about her before.
“It is always the Christians who take them in when they’re left on the steps or abandoned in your houses,” the woman continued. “You are not obligated – there is good reason no one else wants them. This child will die and your heart will break. I understand this is your brother the apostle’s doing, as he fears the name of hypocrite if he did not care for the orphans as he himself commands.”
“My brother has no cause to fear that name,” said the new mama, yet so softly I could hardly hear past the pounding in my ears.
I was far too young to understand then, but I understand now. Adoption is a shameful thing, as if my parents didn’t have enough of that already. Mama says the Lord placed me in their lives. I’m convinced Christ must not be pleased with them, which is impossible to understand after the trials my uncle has contented himself with for Christ’s sake. I have given up trying to understand the stranger in whom my uncle believes.
They’ve retold the story countless times since my seventh birthday, which was the first occasion I learned of it. I knew I was adopted, yet not how it came to pass. When I turned seven, Mama and Uncle Paul consulted with one another and came to the conclusion I was old enough to hear it. I listened from the safe crook of my uncle’s arm, and was told I had been abandoned at three years old. Then Mama took me home; hours later Uncle Paul returned and held me for the first time; and they vowed to become my adoptive parents.
I don’t remember ever belonging to anyone except Mama and Uncle Paul, but apparently I had. Strangely it made me feel a sense of loss, as if I were an unexpected burden placed upon their shoulders. As if I was just an obligation of my uncle’s conscience, as that woman had said.
“Did you know my real parents?” I asked.
Mama’s smile seemed pained. “Ahava,” she said, “we are your real parents.”
I perceived they weren’t pleased by the question and so asked no more, though continued to wonder vaguely about the mother who had left me.
I’m not unhappy with my parents. Mama’s only fault is too many endearments, and with such a fault I ought to see how deeply she cares for me. And I get along with Uncle Paul well enough. He generally shows his care through teaching me, reading with me, and sternly guarding what I see and hear and say. His only fault is being what others call in various terms apostle, madman, magician, and healer. Those are the most common I’ve heard.
On account of that I haven’t had much opportunity to make friends, as my mother is always urging. I’ve had too much intercourse with members of my age and don’t care for more. One such member informed me that adoption was a “way of saying” I didn’t belong anywhere. Mama and Uncle Paul couldn’t really care because I wasn’t their flesh and blood. Something told me they would be furious if I told, which is why I never have. Something else told me I shouldn’t have listened, but I did, and the more I think about it the more sensible it seems.
I really hope you all enjoyed Story Sunday #3!
Now for Story Sunday Survey #3. As usual, I’m very excited to see how everyone will vote on next week’s diary entry. Click HERE to complete the survey. (Remember that the Story Sunday Surveys close each Thursday at 11:59 PM Pacific Time.)
Make sure to tell me your thoughts in the comments! Also, feel free to give me an update how your week went. How was your writing? How was life in general? I would love to chat, and if you ever need encouragement, I’m definitely here!
You know the drill – eat, pray, write, repeat!