In picking a scripture story for the basis of my writing, I thought that all I needed to do was to connect retold sections given in the scriptures by adding interesting fill, linking it all together into story form. I wanted to stay true to the scriptural text. What I ended up with was flat. My critique group let me know that I needed more conflict (among other things). They may as well just turn to The Good Book itself for all the excitement I was giving them. I learned about character arcs and how my MC needed to grow, progress, and overcome a problem. I remember saying out loud, “This is harder than it looks.”
Ignorance was no longer bliss and mediocrity was not an option. Writing a book took too much time and devotion not to up my level of skill. Anything less would be a waste of time. I paid attention to the group’s comments to each other and learned from their writing as well as mine. There were secrets to success ready to be gleaned from the pages of self-help books and evidence found in published novels. The trick was implementing what I learned.
As the feedback became increasingly positive, I was a kid in a candy store. I loved taking my redlined pages home and shaping them into something better. I could do this. I always believed in myself but I was beginning to believe a publisher might feel the same.