Three years ago on this very day, I completed the first draft of Our Company of Fools, my 7th full draft to finish. It is the book I never counted on, my accident novel. I spontaneously started writing it in the airport as I waited to leave a writer’s workshop, and after some minimal plotting, I finished the book 19 days after I began writing it. This is incredibly unusual for me, first of all because I’m a Plotter who stews on story ideas for months, if not years, before committing them to paper. The second reason is because it takes me at least a full month, typically more, to write a book of 50K words or more. So I can only credit the Lord for how quickly this story came into existence, and I truly do believe He has given it to me.
But that doesn’t mean it’s been an easy process to continue refining this story in the pursuit of publication. I just recently finished Draft 6 edits, but it’s not quite there yet. Definitely closer than the rough draft was, but publishable? Nope. At least not with a traditional publishing house, which is my goal and prayer.
This book is my pride and joy because it’s my favorite book I’ve written. I love the story and I love those who populate it. It’s been enjoyable to see these characters grow out of their molds and become their own individuals. It’s the realest book I’ve written (fantasy elements aside). It’s the book that changed my own perception on writing and my identity as a writer; I now desire to have a strong theme, be relatable, showcase vulnerability in all of my books. It’s shown me that I can write well, that I can actually move people with my words, and helped me achieve many writing milestones along the way. It’s taught me much about writing.
Yet, if I’m being honest, this book is also the bane of my writing existence. It’s sudden appearance derailed most of my writing plans—and keeps doing so, as I now have a hard time focusing on any other projects, especially the ones I dreamed of before this one. It’s theme, too, is so entwined with my Christian worldview that I worry many people won’t be satisfied by the book’s end, even though for me, there can be no other resolution. It’s also difficult to edit and shape this book to appeal to a wide audience. I wrestle with what to change and what to keep in each draft. It’s forced me to “kill darlings,” as we say in the writing world, and has called for a significant amount of revision, something I personally find most difficult about the editing process.
And yet, three years later, Our Company of Fools is still the book I return to as the one book I must get published, even if it’s the only. It means that much to me. I believe its message is important to bring to the world. In fact, I hope it will be the first book I publish. My goal is to edit a potentially “final” draft by March 9th–and then start the process of pitching this book. I don’t know if it’ll be ready when I finish those edits, but I don’t think I’ll really know until I try. That’s a lesson I took away from my most recent OYAN WW (shoutout to Stephanie Morrill for that one).
So, my beautiful, ugly, wondrous, unexpected story, I praise God for you and pray that you will accurately depict what a life lived with hope in Him is meant to look like. I hope that you will glorify My Creator—Our Creator—and draw people closer to Him.
Happy Third Birthday, Our Company of Fools. Here’s to the next three—and the many more years after that.