May you be brave in times of trial when others lay crosses on your shoulders.
"What happened to Between Earth and Sky?"
No, I'm not suddenly veering off from Plenilune to attend to yet another novel jostling in my head to be written. But Joy asked me this question on Facebook and I figured, hey, I haven't talked about Between Earth and Sky in a long, long time, so I thought I would jot down a little about it and tell you why I put it aside for awhile.
I told my husband just last night, after reading back over a theological, philosophical discussion that had made it into the manuscript of Between Earth and Sky, that the novel is like The Shadow Things, but on steroids. Honestly I haven't picked the manuscript up in over a year, but having run an eye over it again, I can truly say that it's good stuff. I recall being peeved and fretful over it before, but after a brief perusal I found it to be tightly-knit with sound dialogue and description and (my favourite, and the hardest thing for me to work in) foreshadowing. I was actually really pleased with what I found and really excited to begin on it afresh. I can't right now, of course - I'm in the middle of Plenilune. (Figurative middle. I have no idea how far into the plot I really am. Plots are like that, you know...)
Why did I stop? Two reasons. Well, three. One, I was in the middle of seriously editing Adamantine. I always have shards of ideas coming off my imagination, but I don't multitask on two demanding stories very well so when the second reason for my leaving off working on Between Earth and Sky hit I had that excuse to fall back on. The second reason is that I got stuck. Probably no more stuck than I normally get in the course of writing: I just got gummed up. The third reason I stopped is that, at that point, I had not learned to push on. I've learned through writing Plenilune that if I put my back into it, more words will come. I simply have to plough through the mess. Back then I hadn't learned that, so between Adamantine, being stuck, and having a bit of a squishy backbone, Between Earth and Sky was put down.
Don't despair, though! I love that plot. I love those characters. It will demand everything and more from me, but I am looking forward to it, to the curve-ball questions characters will throw at me, the moral conundrums we will find ourselves in, the stepping out into the darkness in faith which all of us experience. Perhaps I was too small for the story before, and that is why I put it down... But now I am wildly afraid of it as you are afraid of a huge wave that is about to break over you, and yet loving to be caught up in the ruthless glory of it. It will demand everything and more from me, and I am glad of it.
The manuscript of Between Earth and Sky is only 74,341 words and, where I left off, I was only just cupping the little ember of its plot in my palms and blowing it to life. What is it about? It's about the demands placed upon a man of God, serving a people who do not know Christ, bringing the light of the Gospel to the uttermost ends of the earth.
Walking alone.Valerian’s face returned, distant and contemplative; but always sure of itself, as though from some high and lofty quarter, an eagle’s eyrie, perhaps, the man could see the world as it turned. Had Valerian known? The thought chilled him colder than the brisk evening wind. Had the man stood beside him that honey-yellow evening in the cloister and thought, ‘This boy will walk alone’?He might never know.