As I started editing the third and final book in the Reverend G series, I wanted to be as objective as possible. Besides the work I do as a Life Coach and an Author – I am also an Editor. I know how to proofread for grammar mistakes, punctuation errors and content miscues.
Even with my own writing, I’m ruthless with edits. It doesn’t kill me to delete whole sections – even an entire chapter, if it doesn’t carry the story forward.
In fact, I often rewrite the entire manuscript seven or eight – even twelve times, striving for that best word, that a-ha moment and that paragraph that carries an internal truth.
But when I started editing this book, with my red pen in hand, I worked several minutes before I made any marks. I looked for mistakes, knowing that even the most careful writers make them. And yes, I found a couple of typos, but nothing glared at me that needed to be rewritten.
In fact, I quickly found myself immersed in the story of this woman minister as I walked with her into the world of expressive aphasia. I felt the intense struggle of Reverend G who wants more than anything else in the world to communicate God’s love to others, yet she has lost the ability to string common sense words together into intelligent sentences.
This is the world of many Alzheimer’s patients as they grow increasingly frustrated with their inability to communicate.
But for Reverend G, it seems worse. This was a woman who thrived on the ministry of words – the sermons she wrote and delivered, the counseling sessions where she asked open-ended questions and the love notes she left her son, Jacob, and later – the love of her life, Chris.
Fortunately, for me – the writer – I have written this series in the deep viewpoint so I can escape into the mind of Reverend G and know what she is thinking even if she cannot fully express it.
So I read her thoughts – my words – with awe and wonder, is it okay to really like my own writing? Is it helpful for a creative writer to enjoy the cadence of her own voice? Is it all right for a Christian writer to read a paragraph and then say, “Dang! That’s good!”
Maybe I like my words because I really do love this character, this Reverend G who wears leather pants and refuses to be stereotyped within the legalistic jargon of religion. Maybe I appreciate my words because I know how many hours I have put into this series and what it has meant to me when people read my books and compliment me.
And maybe – after over 40 years of freelancing – I’m finally settling on my real voice and becoming the writer God created me to be.
Whatever the reason, I’m liking this book and as much as I enjoyed Book One, I really think Book Two is even stronger and I believe Book Three will be the perfect ending for Reverend G’s story.
So I’ll include a couple of paragraphs here and let you be the judge. Do you like it, too? Are you looking forward to finding out more?
“Oh God, my God, why did it have to be words? These were the tools of my profession, the way I communicated with my God, my people and my particular world. The sermons I wrote and then preached behind the special pulpit designed for me, the open-ended questions I devised for counseling sessions, the Bible verses I quoted so easily to bring hope and encouragement to my congregation.
“All these pieces of ministry included words which gave me effective ammunition to further the kingdom of God. Like an important piece of machinery tuned to the Gospel, I found my significance in words. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Holy Word lived within my words.”
©2013 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/11QATC1
RJ – cannot wait to read the rest of the series! You should like your words – it is a great story expressed with great heart and compassion. Good job!
Thanks so much, Angela. And soon – your words will be published as well. Looking forward to seeing your finished product!
Rebecca, I’ve eagerly anticipated the sequels all along. Now, even more so. Words are powerful, and I do believe whether writing or speaking–with me, preaching–we know when those words are good and effective!
Thank you, Sharon, and I’m eagerly waiting for your book as well. Words are indeed powerful!