History of Bliss Part 2

To refresh your memory, we were talking about Bliss. (Is that a surprise?) We were in the midst of trying to figure out how to go about writing it. Which brings us to...

Step 6: Time to try something. Tracy wrote another section. By herself. While Jenness worked on something else. (Or at least pretended to. You never know with her.) Then Tracy handed it off to Jenness and bit her nails while she waited. Jenness rewrote it, polishing and adding in her own attempts at cleverness. Then she handed it back for approval. It was granted. Time to move to the next scene.

Step 7: That's the way we did it, although it got faster the more we wrote. Tracy would keep working on sketching out scenes. Jenness would keep working on filling in between the lines. The emails and attachments would go back and forth. If either of us got stuck--no problem. We had a built-in brainstorming partner. If we didn't like something the other had done, again, no problem. We'd talk it out...and end up agreeing with each other. No need to pull out the contract.

This type of writing worked very well for both of us. Tracy could work quickly, not worrying about stilted dialogue or correct grammar. She would learn as she went. Jenness could work on her own writing projects (she started Double Take before we'd finished Bliss), then have a sketched out scene land in her inbox, so her creative juices would get a solid kick-start. Very helpful.

But it also had a few disadvantages. Life got in the way. The writing came to a halt before Bliss was even halfway finished. Maybe Jenness would get the rights to the unfinished manuscript after all. (Considering we built this blog to promote Bliss, this is a lame excuse for a cliff-hanger. Guess that means we should keep going.)

The Genesis contest deadline crept up on us. We had enough written to submit, so we finally decided to go ahead and see what the judges thought of our partnership so far. We sent in the first three chapters and went on with our lives.

A few months later, we both received a phone call. Bliss had made it to the final round of judging! For a while, that inspired more work on the project. Life was crazy-busy, however, and we didn't get far. But that year we both attended the ACFW conference in September. In preparation for that, Jenness' agent, Tamela Hancock Murray of Hartline Literary Agency, signed Tracy on. Tracy and Jenness went to a steakhouse to celebrate and make the writing partnership official. We didn't even spill A-1 on the contract. At the conference, rooming together still didn't ruin our friendship, so we figure we're pretty safe with the whole friend thing. :-)

The Genesis winners are announced at the awards banquet, which is later on in the conference. So we had time to get nervous, as if editor appointments didn't cause enough quaking nerves. Then we learned that one of the judges had misunderstood where we were going with our contest entry. Bliss is told from the perspective of a young woman who is totally clueless when it comes to Christianity. She looks to the universe for direction until it leads her wrong one too many times. Our tag line is When the universe lets you down, its time to go over its head. But we hadn't had a place to give a tag line or a synopsis of the story or back cover copy. (The following year they began allowing contestants to submit a synopsis.) So, though there were hints that there would be changes in our heroine's life, the direction of the story wasn't obvious in the first few pages. So the judge saw the horoscopes and thought we'd entered the wrong writing contest. We were very afraid our scores were going to reflect that. (Just for the record...they did.)

So the night of the banquet, we shivered and drummed our fingers and jiggled our legs all through dinner and the presentation of the awards. All of the awards. Because our category was last. Go figure. By then our nerves were shot. (First place winners had to give acceptance speeches. Jenness prayed Bliss would not place first. Tracy prayed it would.) Our names were called. Bliss had placed third! We made our way to the front (Jenness trailing behind because she hadn't quite figured out how to walk in skinny heels), claimed our certificate...and didn't have to give a speech.

People had liked our writing. They'd liked our story. It was time to finish the book.


Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.

Follow Bliss