Monthly Column – March

I’m So Frustrated I Could Weep!


By Pamela Thibodeaux

I’m so frustrated I could weep! Am I repeating my self? Well, it’s worth saying again: I’m so frustrated I could weep! Get the point? I hope so, cause I’m really tired of repeating myself. Want to know why I’m frustrated? Read on.

What is it about the business of writing that keeps us pounding away on the keyboard, pouring out our heart and soul just to get rejected? I don’t understand it at all! Is it a curse or a blessing to have the gift of gab in written form? I love writing. I love reading. I love words! After all, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” I love creating something out of mere thoughts, dreams and ideas. Isn’t that what God did when he created the world and everything in in?

NO, I AM NOT COMPARING MYSELF TO GOD!! (don’t be so quick to judge)

What I don’t like is the unending line of bull (actual word: crap) we writers put up with.

I’m currently editing a novel that was originally written in long hand, compromising the entire length of two (or was it three?) five-subject notebooks. However, when God blessed me with my first word processor, it took a whole year just to type it in. Yes, it was terrible. The spell checker was definitely outdated and my grammar was horrible! But I did it and I did it with great pleasure. I made a lot of revisions during that time and rediscovered the joy of creating.

So, why am I whining? Why am I frustrated?

I’m frustrated with the clean up process. Now, I know editing is a major part of the writing process, but come off it! Is it really necessary to polish it to death? Is it really necessary to keep EVERY rule you’ve ever heard in mind until you can’t think straight anymore? Is it really REAL to tone down your story to the point of knowing in your heart that the character’s REAL emotions are so watered down that they seem less authentic?

“What is she rambling about?” You ask.

For those of you who don’t know it, I write Inspirational romance. You know, the kind where nobody curses and everybody has TOTAL control over their emotions. GET REAL. Even the MOST devout Christian I know has occasional lapses from sainthood!

Should our characters be any different?

Now I know the rule, they can fall from grace, it’s how you present it that counts.

In the novel I’m currently editing, the main characters are constantly thrown together and torn apart by fate. Hence the title: Circles of Fate. At one point, after what seems like a lifetime of having-yet fighting-their feelings for one another, the heroine makes the remark (speaking of fate) “that bitch has us over a barrel anyway.”

Now really, is it necessary to delete every “damn”, “hell”, and occasional “bitch” from every scene? Are Christians REALLY so sensitive that real life offends them. How would you feel if you were happily married and fate kept throwing you and your first love together? (One that she’s thrown at and torn you away from many times). Wouldn’t you be a little angry at fate? Wouldn’t you think fate was a bitch that had you over a barrel despite your love for God and your desire to be a “good” Christian?

In respect for the audience I write for, I toned the sentence down like this: “that,” she bit back the word that came to mind, “witch has us over a barrel anyway.”

Now you tell me, doesn’t it lose a little something? Punch, reality, depth, something?

And the love scenes! Well, let’s not get graphic here, but a little tongue NEVER hurt anyone! Has any reader of Inspirational romance EVER read the book of Solomon? You have? Well, you tell me, were you offended by some of the graphic descriptions in that book? For those of you who don’t know it, the book (or Song) of Solomon, (or Song of Song’s depending on which translation you’re reading) is part of the greatest book ever written: THE BIBLE!

If God describes His love for us in such exotic prose, why can’t we do the same for our characters?

Now, I know we should be selective in our use of the human language. But isn’t the point of telling a story for it to be so REAL that our readers actually put themselves in the heart and mind of the characters? I’ll tell you one thing, I love God with all my heart, but if I get angry or hurt look out! The phrase “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” is a VERY mild description of seeing this little coonass upset!

Yes, I repent. Yes I plead for forgiveness. Yes, I try to be angry and sin not. I try to submit to the Holy Spirit and let Jesus shine through regardless of the situation. I try. I don’t always succeed. But, isn’t that what grace is all about? If we never fell, we wouldn’t need the healing power of God’s grace.

Do you ever wonder what Jesus’ words REALLY were when he drove the money changers out of the temple? I do. I bet He had a few choice words for them and I bet (being human) those words were just too graphic to put in the holiest book ever written!

Oh well, got it all off my chest (am I being too graphic here?). Until those in high places decide that we writers (and readers) of Inspirational fiction are human (key word here) I’ll continue to tone down my books as much as my frazzled mind will allow. After all, I am a Christian and as I grow in grace and wisdom I know that God will continue to give me the words that will not offend Him or any one of you.

In the mean time, thank you ALL very much for letting me rant and rave. I feel much better now, more in control. Oh, yes, my anger has abated, my frustration level is down. I can write an angry (or passionate) scene without offending anyone (I hope).

PS: the hero in the book is in the Army. He starts out as one of the lowest ranked “gofers” (original term: dog shit runners) that the Army has. Which term do you think is more REAL? I’m happy to hear your comments. Address them to:

Pamela’s novel ‘Tempered Hearts’ is published by Writers Exchange Epublishing.

Coming Soon! Tempered Dreams
2nd Book in the 4 part “Tempered” Series


Dr. Scott Hensley (introduced in Tempered Hearts) has built a wall around his heart since the death of his wife and parents. Katrina Simmons is recovering from scars inflicted as a battered wife. Can dreams be renewed and faith strengthened? Can they find joy and peace in God’s love and in love for one another?

Find out in: Tempered Dreams.



Born May 19, 1961, Pamela Thibodeaux is the mother of four children (two by blood and two by marriage) ranging in ages from 17 to 22. She works part time as a full-charge bookkeeper. Pamela has been writing for several years and is a member of Coeur de Louisiane and RWA. As a member of Coeur, she won the 1999 “Diamond In The Rough” award, the “Ruby” award in 2000, and is currently serving as Contest Chair and Publicity Coordinator for the organization. Pamela has a short story Angel of the Day (November 2000) and an Inspirational Article entitled: Perfect Love (Feb. 2001) published in The Romantic Bower Ezine at: Pamela has also written a novel, ‘Tempered Hearts’ published by Writers Exchange Epublishing.


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