I remember as a much younger writer, being terribly afraid of my ideas being stolen. It seems laughable now, because I don’t think I had particularly original ideas to begin with. It was at some writing convention or other that an agent gently pointed out that there are only so many story ideas out there, and the skill comes in how you re-tell the story, not in coming up with a brand new idea. It was the first time I had thought of plot as a device and not the end in itself, and that made writing a much bigger responsibility. Sometimes, I go into a story thinking ‘this time, it’s just about the story. There isn’t any deeper meaning, or theme or anything. It’s just a story.’ But it never is. There is always more to tell. Ignoring that little voice never leads to anything good. It’s scary, because it requires being vulnerable at a whole new level. This is exposing STUFF and it can hurt. People might hate it, or worse, they might be ambivalent. Sometimes I do get the STORY that I’m meant to tell and at the same time I get the realization that I am not equipped to tell this story. That kind of happened with Broken Warriors. It was very difficult to tell this story properly and part of it was that I was judging myself as my audience. I was extremely worried about how things were coming across and very aware of sounding ‘preachy’. It’s tough to find a voice for writing spiritual or inspirational books. I am far from a preachy goody goody and have made my share of mistakes and said my share of bad words. Most spiritual books I read sound unrealistic to me, but it’s not honoring to my audience to use the language that I think my characters might use when they are starting their journey. Part of the issue is that I am trying to find out where my books fit and I guess I just don’t know yet. They aren’t exactly Christian fiction but they aren’t exactly mainstream either. I wish sometimes that I could just go back to trying to tell an interesting story but I don’t feel like that’s an option anymore. I know that if I have any talent, it’s a gift and I need to use it responsibly. Times like that I wish for more insight and clarity as to how. Thank goodness when it all gets overwhelming I can just be a reader!!