It has grown between the gossamer threads of my imagination and pen and so beyond it, and defied me with its vastness and depth. For in The Crown of Life, is a story reflecting heart-felt themes and struggles of human hearts: honour, loyalty, love and courage are there in vivid flame-like contrasts to the darkness of Roman intrigue, jealousy and vengeance, ancient family feuds, ambitions and painful betrayals portrayed within the story and the lives of the characters. It is a story of what it truly costs a man to take up his cross, and be a disciple Christ. So you see this story is not, nor ever was, a very simple tale! And I will be frank with you, through those many years of writing in it, I have encountered a lot of hurdles, many of which I never was ever really able to come out from. As I tried to overcome them, I only bumped into so many others. In ‘The Crown of Life’ I have had had to deal with historical accuracy in the history and culture of Ancient Rome and the early Church and of Nero’s intense persecution against the Christians. There's been a need to grapple with and get an understanding of the pagan religions and philosophy of the times to set a realistic backdrop for unbelieving characters in opposition to the Gospel. This story owns a huge cast of more than forty characters, four of whom are main characters each with a story of their own in their own right. As I mentioned above, the themes are rather big and exciting (not to mention the myriad of plots and subplots within the it). So, this is how the 'The Crown of Life' is and has been for so long, dear friends. And I have loved the challenge because it has been a story I really loved.
But the more I have been writing in it, the more I saw just how challenging a novel I was undertaking. And since the beginning of the year, I have not helped realizing that despite my heart-felt love I really do not yet have the ability or writing maturity to take on such a big-sized, multi-layered tale as The Crown of Life through the many hurdles that are before me and do the story justice and bring it to completion. The discipline of Beginning, Middle, and End have just not been in me for very long--if ever at all--seeing this is my first full length novel. I never did it before save in a short story, and to be confronted with the task of doing it with such a large work now has been more than daunting. And I am still young, with a lot to learn both in writing and in life! I have often felt, as I do more clearly now, that in working on this major work for so long I have hindered myself from writing successfully other stories, and drained myself on a novel that I will have, hopefully, a better capacity and skill to write in a few years from now.
And so, midway in November when I had all my head in the scribbling of 'The Crown of Life' and I was struggling to overcome scenes which have haunted me for so long, I finally had to decide if I was to put it on hold and start a new story or plod on with no end sight. I asked the Lord to lead me and show me which way He wanted me to go. Almost providentially the same week in which I was struggling and wondering, I read two posts (a guest post Jenny wrote here on Fullness of Joy, and the other by teen author Rachel Coker on Go Teen Write about when to give up on a story) that stirred me more into the direction I had been avoiding for so long. I talked it over long with my family who sincerely encouraged my decision to put 'The Crown of Life' on hold and to start a new story, and so it was!
But to what new story? Well! Does anyone of you remember a little story I wrote around early this year? It goes by the title of 'A Love that Never Fails' and it happily got published in a special edition anthology a little while back with other local writers. But it had been in me for a long while that I might have an opportunity to extend the story into a full-length novel and delve more into it. There is so much material that I can see yet to be written in it! So far 'A Love that Never Fails' has been a simple tale (at least on first glance), with gentler themes and with nothing as ancient and dramatic as 'The Crown of Life' but perhaps that is for the better. I have a feeling that depth and life does not always come riding along the steed of a world of intrigue and of dragons and kings and swords and poisoned chalices, but in the hearts of the men and women themselves. And whether we reach for ancient skies or a time more present, something of that flair of burning flame and truth may always shine forth in radiant colours and touch the soul.
And so I have taken up my pen to rewrite a 'A Love that Never Fails' and so far I have written a little over 3,000 words into it (p.s. that is the same size as the full short story but only at the beginning of the story!). I would love to tell you more about it, but since it is still in its early days I think I will let it unfold before you as it does with me. Lord willing though, I shall share a snippet post soon with bits of my NaNo writing, and maybe some Beautiful People too with brand new characters to introduce!! I am pretty excited about this, despite the nostalgia and sadness to be laying aside 'The Crown of Life' at present. It has not been easy, but you know I am not giving it up, just waiting for a time when I feel more ready to pick it up again. Meanwhile, I have got a new story to write! And with that happy thought in mind, I will sign of this long post, but before I do, I just want to offer a big thank you to all those dear young ladies who have contributed to Fullness of Joy in the way of guest posts; I definitely enjoyed every post--I hope you readers did too :). Thank you so much!
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3: 16