It is done! It only took seventeen and a half years; but praise God, it is done. I have finished the first draft of my novel that I have mentioned before in this ministry update from 2020 and this blog post from 2022.

Lots of things – mostly good things – affected how much time I was able to work on this project, so it took a while. My family, homeschooling, my husband’s business, this website, other online ministry, local ministry, another book, other family, and friends often came first. There was a bad thing that impacted it too – my health situation. But it is done! It’s kind of hard to believe. Don’t give up on your dreams! Lord willing, you will reach them.

QUICK RECAP OF THE HISTORY BEHIND MY NOVEL

My novel is a work of fiction. A good way to describe it might be an allegory saturated with biblical themes. I got the idea to write a fictional story back in 2006 after seeing the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I liked the concept of implanting biblical themes into a story and creating an allegory and wondered if I could do something like that. Back then I was studying a Bible topic that seemed like it would be a great fit for that kind of project, so I decided to give it a try.

Since 2006, I developed the idea more and worked on it off and on. Finally in 2022, it became the primary focus of my ministry writing, and that is why I have now gotten this far. I do see this novel as ministry because it is being written for the glory of God and has a gospel theme. I pray God is glorified by it and that lives are impacted in a meaningful way.

FIRST DRAFT SIZE

The word count for my first draft is 163,417 words!

To give you an idea of that book length:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is – 183,858 words
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe is – 166,622 words
Emma by Jane Austen is – 155,887 words
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is – 135,420 words
(source)

A more common way to think about book length is by page count. Giving about 320 words per page, my first draft would be 510 pages roughly.

So not too big for the world, but it may be too big for publishers. I have read that publishers tend to shy away from works with over 110,00 words from new authors. That means I might need to trim it quite a bit or split it into two parts. I’m not too worried about it now because this is only the first draft. The size could change a lot during the rewriting process.

WRITING FOR CHAPTER 3 MINISTRIES

The rewriting process could take another year or more. That will impact my writing here at Chapter 3 Ministries. I will post as I have opportunity as I love writing for this website. Lord willing, I will return to writing here more regularly after my novel is finished. I miss it and there is more work to be done!

It’s not always easy to stay focused on my novel and not write here. There are things I see happening in the world and topics being discussed online that I would like to address as well as my own topics I’d like to cover. But for now, my ministry time and energy are focused mostly on my novel, with some posting on X and Facebook.

The good news is, even though I am not posting here regularly, my articles are still being read. Even without new posts coming in, my website gets a decent amount of traffic every day through referrals and search engines. I thank God that I can still minister through the existing posts that I have up already.

A LITTLE STORY ABOUT WRITING MY STORY

Something a little amazing happened while I was writing this novel. It has to do with my writing process. My writing process for this book has been systematic. I have a lot of notes, outlines, and even a story board! I track character arcs and major and minor themes as they run through the story. All this helps me to see the big picture while I work on the details. There is a lot to keep track of, but it must be done to make sure that everything makes sense and comes together correctly in the end.

During my writing process, I discovered another thing that I needed to track. Time. Or more specifically, how much time passes between events that happen in different chapters. These time gaps can affect the pace of the story and the interactions between my characters. For instance, if certain characters didn’t see each other for a few days versus a few months, they would act differently when they were reunited. I also wondered how much time passed from the beginning to the end of the story. I had a rough idea, but I wanted to know for sure.

So, I made a spreadsheet. (I love making those!) I used it to track how many days, months, and years passed from event to event and chapter to chapter.

To help me track and add up the passing of time in my spreadsheet, I assigned dates to the three parts of my book as shown below. These dates don’t appear in the story. Only the passing of time is given. This was for me and tracking purposes.

January 1, 2000 – Date for Prologue events – birth of main character
January 1, 2008 – Part One begins – main character is 8 years old (Chapter 1 to Chapter 4)
January 1, 2020 – Part Two begins – main character is 20 (Chapter 5 to Chapter 50.)

By the time we reach the end of the book the main character is 23.

Starting from Chapter 5, I tracked all the passing of time, day by day, between events and chapters. The time gaps between chapters varied from less than a day to weeks to months. After writing and tracking everything, I discovered the date of the last day of my story.

From the starting point, you can tell that it is somewhere in 2023. Here’s the exact date: June 7, 2023.

When I saw the date, I was shocked and laughed. It wasn’t the year that amused me; it was the day! June 7th is my birthday! All this writing, all this planning, all these varying gaps of time that I picked for storytelling and no other reason, ended up with the date of the last day of my book being the same as my birthday. How amazing! How cool! It kind of felt like a gift for all my hard work.

FUTURE PLANS AND PRAYERS

It is unclear yet if I am going to launch my novel from C3M’s website or make a new website for it. Time will tell, and I will make the announcement here either way.

Thank you so much for reading. I am grateful for the time you spend reading here. I very much hope to have more for you to read more often in the future. In fact, there is another blog post in the works that I hope to post soon, so be on the look out. And maybe you will enjoy my book, Lord willing I get it done this century!

One more thing. Recently I began a ketogenic based health program that is very comprehensive. The hope is that it will provide improvement in various ways in the near future. It is time consuming, so it does take away from my writing. But working to get better is time well spent!

I pray that you are well and ask once again for prayers. For me, for this new health program to bring great results, and for my writing. Thank you.

Sharon Lareau

  1. Thank you for sharing about your book Sharon. Your timeline spreadsheet is amazing and I love the birthday part! I will pray for your writing and health program. God Bless You

  2. I am so happy for you!! And that is pretty cool, that the last day of the book is your birthday! Praying with you, in Jesus’ love, Judy

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