This has been sitting in my draft box for a month or so. It was written on May 25th 2016.
So I was about 50,000 words into my novel when I realized that I was not quite sure where I was going. It was a terrifying feeling. Especially because I kept thinking “I’ll fix that in post (aka edits)”. Those are famous final words on a film set. I kept thinking I need to find a way to re-juice my story – make it more exciting to write because, if I’m not enjoying it, then there is no way my audience is going to enjoy it.
I turned to God with the issue. It is amazing, the feeling I get when I talk to God about progress on my novel. Last night it was a big part of my prayer. This morning, during my scripture study, I found that I had totally misstepped on my timeline.
Specifically, I have my main character, Laman, leaving and fighting in the battle of Mulek AFTER the 2,000 stripling warriors leave to fight on the western borders of the land of Zarahemla. Alma 52 clearly states that I was WRONG. A multi-thousand word mistake. I was devastated but, when I sat down to write this morning, I had TONS of material to work on because I had to start fixing things. Some might say that is a setback. I say it was an answer to my prayer :).
Suddenly, I’m writing some great stuff about Laman helping to take back the city of Mulek.
The words of Zenos, as quoted by Amulek in Alma 34:18-27.
18 Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save.
19 Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him.
20 Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks.
21 Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening.
22 Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies.
23 Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness.
24 Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them.
25 Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase.
26 But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.
27 Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.
I have reread Alma 52 and the surrounding chapters several times since I wrote this post and it looks like I do not need to throw away as much as I thought. Moroni held his council of war in the 26th year of the reign of the judges. In Alma 53 it tells the story of how Helaman marched at the head of the 2,000 stripling warriors and then it ends the 28th year. This is what caused me to despair – part of my plot hinges on the 2,000 stripling warriors leaving the People of Ammon BEFORE the battle of Mulek. However, in Alma 56 we have the actual letter which Helaman wrote to Moroni where he states “For behold, in the twenty and sixth year, I, Helaman, did march at the head of these two thousand young men to the city of Judea, to assist Antipus, whom ye had appointed a leader over the people of that part of the land.” (Alma 56:9).
A LOT happened in that 26th year – it would make sense to me that the 2,000 stripling warriors decided to go to battle after discovering that Ammaron took over for Amalickiah and that the war was far from over. This is such a powerful statement to me: “as they never had hitherto been a disadvantage to the Nephites, they became now at this period of time also a great support; for they took their weapons of war, and they would that Helaman should be their leader.” (Alma 53:19)
If people were receiving and writing the information at different times that would account for the discrepancy which also makes sense because Helaman and Antipus were fighting in the SouthWest and Moroni, Lehi, and Teancum were fighting in the NorthEast.
So – whew – I get to keep the majority of my previous work AND Laman is now much more involved in the battle of Mulek where he faces off with his former enemy, Jacob. I need those chapters to flesh out the real conflict in the story. Again, some might say lucky coincidence. I still choose to look at it as another answer.