If you’ve been following my social media (BriAnna Monique or briannamonique.blog on FB, bri____monique on IG, and @BriMoniqueWill on Twitter), then you may have seen some videos about #ManuscriptMonday: my hustle to publish a book. I’ve been talking about it since August and it is October with nothing to show for it. What is the goal exactly?

Every Monday, I’m going to post something pertaining to the book I’m piecing together to submit to a publisher. Originally, I was got to post one chapter a week. Each week I would open the floor for readers to comment and give feedback so I could make necessary tweaks to make it even better. I got this idea from my time with the Holy Spirit and seeking God about what to do on my blog. I found out a few weeks ago, authors are starting share pieces of their content to fans to get feedback. That’s what is amazing about being connected to God, He gives you wisdom and insight about things you know nothing about.

Now, as I’m preparing to launch #ManuscriptMonday, I’m thinking of expanding this idea. First, I’ll share a synopsis of the book. Next, I’ll share the characters and their backstories. Then, I’ll unleash their story, chapter by chapter every week. Now, I’m aware I may not get the feedback I’m seeking. That just means my friends will be subjected to reading my story and giving me feedback. I may need to find a writer’s group. And, I may need to pay an editor to take one final glance, but whatever happens… I believe all my work will not be in vain and I have faith this Manuscript will be Published!

My heart is traditional publishing, which is crazy because self-publishing has wildly successful testimonies, but to me you’re not a real author unless you have a literary agent and a traditional publishing deal. Plus, I truly feel in my heart these stories I come up with are meant to shape and impact lives, therefore, I want the mass platform traditional publishing has to get these stories out there for people.

Now, I pray that’s not my pride talking, and after struggling for so long to publish a book… I’m ready to surrender this dream to God and let Him guide me where He wants to take me with it.

Since this is the first #ManuscriptMonday related post on the blog, I will reveal the title, the genre, and what gave me the idea for this story.

Title: Girls of Grace

Genre: Young Adult Christian Fiction

It was 2012, and I was living in Tucson, Arizona with my dad going to Pima Community College. At the time, I was going to a small Baptist Church with a couple of my college friends. One day, on the evening news, a young woman was sexually assaulted on the U of A campus by a cab driver. The young woman had called the cab directly instead of calling the company for a cab driver. She was only trying to get from one side of campus to the other side of campus quicker.

For some reason, I thought about the friendship of four young women… two in high school and two in college and their daily Christian walk. One was a new believer overcoming fornication. One was the associate pastor’s daughter and was perfect in public but never shared with anyone her private doubt about faith. Another was in college and newly engaged to the pastor’s son. And the fourth was completely faithful, sold out for Jesus, enjoying her singlehood. Yes, all for of these girls were based off someone I knew, and one was myself.

Over time, the story shifted and became 3 girls. I got rid of the character that was supposed to be like me. Lauren, who was the associate pastor’s daughter soon became modeled after the U of A victim I heard about on the news. I combined an event similar to that with the story of my grandmother. When my grandmother was 20, he was drugged by her date, driven over state lines, and raped which led to my mother being conceived. Her assailant was never prosecuted because her family didn’t want to deal with the shame it brought to her family so publicly. She was going to place my mother in adoption, but she felt led by the Lord not to do it, and she raised my mother. To this day, my grandmother is dealing with pain of that event over 50 years ago.

I wanted to tackle such a hard issue because I know women who have gotten abortions because they were raped. Sexual assault is awful. The assailant should be prosecuted every time, even if the victim has zero chance of getting justice, at least someone tried to do something and there would be a record for next time.

In my beginning draft, that I never completed before changing the concept again, Lauren got aggressively sexually assault, to where her assailant nearly killed her, and when in the hospital receiving treatments for her wounds, she refuses to take the morning after pill, the abortion pill, simply because of her beliefs. I decided she would end up pregnant from the attack. I teetered between whether or not she would place the child in adoption or keep the child.

The overall theme was to display grace working in the lives of these three friends as they lived life together.

As I work on this latest version for #ManuscriptMonday, it remains to be seen if I keep that subplot for Lauren or not.

I got the title for Girls of Grace, while I was house sitting and listening to music on satellite TV. It would give facts about the music artists while their song played. A song about grace was playing by Point of Grace from their album Girls of Grace. In the fact info, it said they made the album Girls of Grace for teen girls as they face the woes of adolescence. Taking a cue from them, I wanted my book to help girls like their music. The music group also had Baptist roots and since the girls in my book were Baptist, I found it very fitting to use the name of the album for the book.

Some of the members, from Point of Grace, actually have written a book Girls of Grace and have a summer camp with that title for young ladies to encourage them through faith at such a difficult time in their life. Fortunately for me, it is totally okay to have books with the same name, just not movies, unless they have changed that law recently.

Next Monday, I’ll share the official synopsis and the characters, but I promise not to give the plot away.