People are hungry. They long for, line up for, and live for a wide variety of things. So before I share my list and theirs, I’ll just ask to get you thinking: What are you pursuing? Notice I didn’t say, What’s worth pursuing? Not yet.
In no particular order and with no special attempt to sound spiritual, here’s what appears on my short list of pursuits and desires:
- A comfortable bed (Really? Where did that come from?)
- Good health (Elusive lately.)
- Pretty things, beauty in general.
- Loving relationships with spouse, family, and friends. (“This is my beloved and this is my friend,” says Song of Solomon 5:16.)
- A tranquil and quiet life (As mentioned in I Timothy 2:2. The opposite of most of my days!)
- A lovely home and garden (Okay, God commands it in Jeremiah 29:5.)
- A restful vacation with a stack of great books. (Preferably by the ocean.)
- A job I’m passionate about.
- A daily sense of the reality of Jesus.
The first item that pop ups on an Internet search for “pursuing” is the pursuit of happiness. Naturally, since the phrase is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, and it’s also the name of a movie.
An alliterated bunch of w’s follows. We’re pursuing:
- Wonder (Wow, I’m surprised. And more impressed to find this so high.)
- Wealth (Not so shocking.)
- Wisdom (and knowledge and education)
- Worldly prosperity (Sounds familiar.)
- Wellness (Coincides with one of mine.)
Something significant I didn’t see listed is the pursuit of excellence. But that’s my purpose in pursuing beta readers for my recent re-draft of Pursuit of the Pudú Deer, Book 2 in the Desert Island Diaries series.
“A Christian has no business being satisfied with mediocrity. He’s supposed to reach for the stars. Why not? He’s not on his own anymore. He has God’s help now.” ― Catherine Marshall, Christy
Presumably after the alpha reader (the writer?), a beta reader is a first reader of a pre-published book manuscript. He/she agrees to read, critique, and comment on the book to help the author improve it and make it as brilliant as possible. 😊
Pursuit of the Pudú Deer takes place three years after the events of Destiny at Dolphin Bay, which if you haven’t read yet, you can check out here. This new story returns to Dolphin Bay to revisit many of the same characters you met in Book 1.
Here’s a sample of the back copy:
“Even as Melissa and Nicolás fall in love, everything else in their lives falls apart. While on a church youth-group trip to Chile, Melissa Travis, now 18, re-encounters her special friend, Nicolás Serrano. The earlier sparks between them soon burst into blaze, but old nemesis Delicia’s outrageous accusations pour cold water on their budding relationship. As Delicia stalks Nicolás, and his brother Marcos searches for a rare species of deer with the dubious aid of a thief with terrorist ties, Melissa ponders whether she should give up on a future with Nicolás. Trapped in the wilderness, they all must face crucial decisions about what is worth pursuing.”
Is there a Seaglass Blog reader or two out there interested in joining my team of beta readers for Pursuit of Pudú Deer? I’m aware you’ll be investing your valuable time to help. If the average person reads about 250 words per minute (60 pages per hour), my 391-page manuscript should need around 6 ½ hours to read. Probably more.
Chasing Dreams and Adventures
Therefore, a story’s creator should try to make it as entertaining and worthwhile as possible, agreed? As editor Cheryl B. Klein admonishes in The Magic Words: “In a world that grows ever more rushed and demanding, spending time on anything is a compliment.”
What kind of books do you look for? What kind of reader are my books looking for? Some key concepts about Pursuit of the Pudú Deer to help you connect:
- Once again it’s set in Chile, during the early years of the nation’s return to democracy. In the abrupt transition away from military rule, an onslaught of violent robberies and terrorist gangs hits society—in the background of the story.
- It’s contemporary fiction, with a big dash of recent history. When I penned the original draft in 1993-96, mobile phones existed…in their infancy. Email served cutting-edge customers only, and computers were glorified word processers. And Chile still clung to the moral codes of the past in public, if not in private,
- Pursuit of the Pudú Deer features a mission trip, such as many of you may have undertaken. These youth-on-a-mission travel to the Chiloé Islands to help build a simple country church hand-in-hand with the locals. All are affected differently. None leave unchanged.
- It’s more than “inspirational,” it’s a spiritual odyssey of Christian faith. Several characters are chasing down their own version of happiness…without success.
Delicia searches for love “in all the wrong places,” as the saying goes. Her father has scrambled all his life to build a prosperous fishing empire while burying his pain in his work. Marcos seeks the adventure of soccer, the beauty of nature, the wonder of wildlife, and the freedom to shape his own identity. Nicolás and Melissa just want to spend some time together—in peace.
Searching for Love
- It’s also a romance, but not just that. Perhaps romantic adventure/suspense puts it better. In my research into what people are pursuing, I found this intriguing comment: “Everything you’ve always wanted is only a relationship away.”
Should the answer to our pursuit of passion and perfection lie in a cool and noncommittal while-it-lasts and what’s-in-it-for-me fling? Is our concept of love mired down in dead-end dating, like Melissa? Or bouncing from man to man in serial relationships, like Delicia?
“Where has your beloved gone?…That we may seek him with you!” –Song of Solomon 6:1
A writing teacher advised: “Write the story that scares you with the pleasure of telling it.” I’ve written a lot of books, and if you ask me which is my favorite, I’ll respond, “Whatever one I’m working on.” But while I loved writing Pursuit of the Pudú Deer, this is the tale that’s intimidated me most.
Why? It’s challenged me as a writer for a number of reasons. Not least because of the sensitive subject, requiring compassionate handling without compromising God’s purity and the integrity of his commandments. Oh, how much we need grace AND truth, repentance met with mercy.
Have I struck the balance? You’ll have to let me know.
- It’s classified as a Young Adult novel. In reality, it’s meant for everyone from new adults to old adults, college students to grandparents. All who deep down desire and seek after God.
Because, in the end, I believe many people out there are hungry for Him. Starving, in fact. You’ll never notice their names in the headlines. They may not publish bestselling books, give press conferences, or promote themselves on social media. But their hearts are pursuing more of Jesus.
And maybe more holiness than happiness.
Now I’ll wind back to the question from the beginning: What’s worth pursuing to you? What are you living for, and is it worth dying for?
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” –Jeremiah 29:13
In the story of our lives, we’d like to skim over the boring parts. We peruse here and there, pick and choose the good things. Like honeybees, we flit about, seeking and sampling the sweet nectar.
But God has other purposes for us. Just as the honeybee has no thought of pollinating the flowers, we too seldom contemplate all we might accomplish on our journey for future generations.
Little do we imagine our pursuit of the good life, in God’s way, could serve a far greater destiny—His eternal glory. Our dogged chase after health, wealth, and happiness could be transformed into healing, filling, blessing.
“Every calling is great when greatly pursued.” –Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
One day God will flip the book of history over to the end, the part known beforehand only to the Author. We’ll realize that every plot strand that made no sense to us will tie together at the climax.
No doubt that sometimes life stings. With health challenges, house challenges, and historical challenges in our countries, I often find keeping up hope is the greatest challenge of all. As a writer, I get used to controlling the plot line, but life doesn’t work that way, does it?
Still, as the story unfolds…
we’re pursuing the best of all ends with both confidence and tenacity. Jesus is not only the GOAL of the Great Story, He’s the principal character. The pursuit of His glory is the guiding theme.
Are you willing to turn your life story into an epic pursuit of God that will impact others? I think that’s worth pursuing.
And beta readers, please reach out. Thanks for the compliment.