Monday, March 22, 2010

Need Your Help for My Next Book

As some of you may know I have been "in the early stages" of writing a book on the life of Paul, specifically his "thorn in the flesh" for the past few years. It is to be an encouraging resource for living with chronic pain and illness. I've been reading, researching, jotting notes, gathering ideas, but for a very long time now it's been only that, a collection of thoughts and ideas that did very little to resemble any attempt at an actual book manuscript. I've been anxious to move forward, but felt over and over that God was telling me to wait. And so I have.

I still don't know how soon, or how far I will make progress, but over the past few weeks I've seen God very gently start taking my random collection of concepts and begin the thrilling process of shaping them into the skeleton of a book outline. I'm hesitant to say I'm actually "writing a book" yet because it's still very early in the process, but I am encouraged that ideas are starting to be pulled together in some semblance of order and I'm hopeful that there may really be a manuscript at the end of this process.

As I wrote Hannah's Hope: Seeking God's Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage & Adoption Loss, I ended each chapter with a "Burden Bearers" section, based on the story of the four friends who carried the paralyzed man to Jesus and lower him through the roof for healing, along with the concept that God commands us to bear one another's burdens. It was a short section that gave ideas, instruction and insight to friends, family and loved ones of a couple facing fertility challenges.

I would like to do a similar thing with this new book and base chapter closings on various characters who touched Paul's life, men like Timothy, Barnabas and so forth. I would spotlight one "hero" per chapter and look at things that person can teach us about encouraging someone through their thorns.

So here's what I need from you. Please let me know what you would call such sections? I don't want to reuse "Burden Bearer" for this is a new book with a new goal and while I'm copying the concept, I feel like the sections themselves need a unique title. I've played with ideas like "Fellow Travels," "Helping Heroes," "Heroes of Hope" and others, but so far nothing really feels like the right fit. A couple of recurrent themes I plan to use through the book are blindness v/s light/sight (with a different twist than you might expect) and gardening/harvesting v/s thorns/weeds. I'm tossing that out there in case either of these topics help point to a section title idea.

I would also like to start doing monthly testimony spotlights here, spotlighting the lives of people who have touched or influenced my life, sometimes directly, sometimes just in passing by learning of their ministries on the Internet or the personal difference they made in the life of one friend. These are people who are real and flawed and living out daily struggles, but finding joy, Harvesting Hope™ in the midst of the journey. I will probably use the same title for those spotlights as I will use in the working copy of a manuscript (realizing that these section titles will be open to alternative titling by my publisher when the manuscript is reviewed by them).

Please share your suggestions. If you submit one between now and the end of April and I end up selecting it as my blog/section title, I've got a small gift I would like to send your way, so please leave me a valid email address so I can contact you for mailing information if I select you title!


Hannah said...

Oh, I loved your Burden Bearers sections in Hannah's Hope! I'll be thinking of title suggestions and comment again soon!

Hannah said...

Everyday Heroes
Agents of Hope
Hope's Ambassadors

That's all I can seem to come up with. Glad to hear that this potential book is gaining shape!