Writing about writing

Archive for November, 2017

NaNo Dilemma Resolution


For the first time since I started participating in NaNoWriMo, I have “cheated.” I wrote 50,000 words, but only about 20,000 of them have anything to do with my story. In spite of the fact that I did not win NaNo in regards to writing a story with 50,000 words, I have won because I finally wrote the story that has been swirling around in my head for more than 30 years!

As I share the plot of my story and the fact that it’s based on Judges 19 with others, I am extremely fascinated with their responses. Almost to a one, everyone tells me s/he does not remember reading this particular story in the Bible, everyone tells me s/he does not remember a pastor ever preaching on this passage, and everyone tells me s/he agrees that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to figure out why this story is in the Bible at all.

What makes the writing of this story that much more interesting than the typical story authors often write (even those based on other stories) is the fact that with every single person I have talked to regarding this story, we have had some absolutely fascinating and super interesting conversations. I cannot tell you how very much I love the fact that not only are people talking about Judges 19, but they are reading their Bibles!!!

How cool is THAT?!

Even more awesome is the fact that I know I am not finished with my own study of Judges 19. I want to find a definitive answer regarding WHY this story of gang rape and the cutting of a woman into 12 pieces is in the Bible. What is the purpose of this story? What exactly is God telling us?


Is it a complete mistake that this story is in the Bible at all?! I honestly don’t believe that it’s a mistake, but why don’t people talk about it?

Why don’t pastors preach on it?

Why do yearly Bible readers gloss over it and forget about it as soon as they’ve read it?

Why does the Levite treat this woman so callously?

Why does the Levite wait 4 months to go get her?

If, as many translations state, the woman/concubine had actually had an affair, then according to Biblical law, she would have been taken into the center of town and stoned. So then why wasn’t she stoned?

Or are other translations that refer to her as having become angry with her husband more of an accurate description of why she left him in the first place?

Why does a Levite, a man set apart as holy unto God as a result of his work for the Temple of God, have a concubine, to begin with?

What significance is it that we are told, several times, throughout the course of this story that there was no king in the land?

And, for heavens’ sake, why in the world does the Levite not only throw his concubine out to the men of Gibeah, but then he sits in the house with the door shut throughout the night?! Why doesn’t he DO something?!

And what in the world does he mean when he so casually says to her dead body at the doorstep, “Get up. Let’s go.”?


Am I the only person who reads Judges 19 and desperately wants to punch the Levite in the throat???? His concubine–wife–is GANG-RAPED all NIGHT by the men of Gibeah while he sits in the house with the old man, doing only God-knows-what!!! Of course it matters that the men of Gibeah wanted the Levite instead of the concubine, but the fact remains that it wasn’t the Levite they raped!!

And what about that old man?! He offers his virgin daughter and the Levite’s wife to the men of Gibeah because it’s such a shameful thing for them to want the Levite!!!!


There isn’t a single innocent person in the whole story, but yet, somehow, according to the fact that a war breaks out after the Levite sends the 12 parts of his concubine’s body to the 12 tribes of Israel, he (the Levite) comes off smelling like roses and the old man and his virgin daughter are completely forgotten–never to be mentioned again!!!

Do you begin to understand my fascination with Judges 19???

Do you?!



NaNo Dilemma

As has been my norm for more years than I’m even aware, I am currently participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I love NaNo. I love writing. In spite of the fact that November tends to be one of my busiest months of the whole year, I seem to thrive on adding the job of writing 50,000 words in 30 days!

I started National Novel Writing Month November of 2017 excited and ready to go. I had my story. I knew exactly what I was going to write about. Way back when I was a teenager, I read my Bible through from Genesis to Exodus in a year for the first time. When I got to Judges 19, my mouth dropped and I asked every Bible reader I knew if s/he knew THAT story was in the Bible! I was horrified! I couldn’t believe that a story about men wanting to rape another man but gang-raping a woman all night to the point of death and then her husband cut her up into 12 pieces to send to the 12 tribes of Israel was a story in the Bible!

Seriously?! What was even more surprising was the number of Bible readers I talked to either had no idea that story was in the Bible and/or none of them wanted to talk about it with me.


I was intrigued. This horror story has been on my mind for more than 30 years. Every time I read my Bible and I get to Judges 19, I’m still wondering why this story is in the Bible. I have read every concordance and Bible reference book and website and so on about this story. Not one reference work has ever sufficiently explained WHY this particular story is in the Bible. Many of them valiantly attempt to explain the WHY, but none explain it sufficiently for me.

Every so often over the years, I have attempted to write this story in modern language from a modern perspective. I probably have as many starts to this story as my current age. I have never been able to get this story out of my head. It haunts me.

So this year as I was preparing for NaNo, I decided that I was finally going to write this story that had been hounding me for so long. As soon as I decided on that topic, I had that place of “knowing” that writers (creative people) get when they KNOW they have hit on a great idea. It doesn’t matter whether or not anyone else agrees. The point is that the creator KNOWS s/he has found his/her Muse.

I decided that I would modernize the story and call it The Deacon and His 2nd-Best Wife. I love my title, by the way. 🙂 I added in details to the beginning of the story where it is slightly ambiguous regarding the concubine’s role as well as whether or not she actually left him because she had an affair or got angry with her husband. It all depends on which translation you read, so I felt that I had credibility in taking a bit of poetic license with the first part of the story.

Early in the writing, I struggled with getting started, but once I got started, the story flew out of my fingers onto the keyboard and on the screen in front of me. Because NaNo is all about getting words on the page and not about editing, I wrote my little heart out.

It is currently November 20. There are 10 days to go in NaNo. And I’m finished.

I am nowhere near the 50,000 words. But the story itself is finished. I’m even going to have to delete a large portion of the story where I overdid it when I go back and revise. But as far as writing the whole story goes, it’s finished. I managed to squeak out 30,000 words (or just under that), but that’s because I included with my word count many of the other writings I’ve done for other activities throughout the month.

The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. If a NaNo participant wants to “win” NaNo, s/he must validate a Word document with 50,000 words. That will get the participant the rights to wear a Winner’s t-shirt as well as a really cool certificate to declare him/herself a NaNoWriMo 2017 Winner, and the rights to some really cool stuff by NaNo sponsors.


My NaNo dilemma is that I don’t want to keep writing just to get to 50,000 words. The story that I started writing on November 1 is finished. I feel as if I have accomplished exactly what I set out to do for NaNoWriMo 2017: I wrote the story of Judges 19 in my own words with a modern twist, focusing on the rape a whole lot more than in the original story.

I have “won” because I have written my whole story.

But according to NaNo’s guidelines, I have 20,000 words to go in order to truly win.

But I don’t want to write anymore because I have already finished my story. I simply don’t feel a need to continue writing specifically for NaNo to get to 50,000 words to win according to their standards. For my purpose and my NaNo 2017 goal, I’ve won already.

What do you think?

Would you keep writing to get to 50,000 words just to win at NaNoWriMo or would you stop writing specifically for NaNo (quit worrying about word count, etc.) and begin the “What now?” process?

I’d love to hear your answers.


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