Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Is your book the ONE?


My husband, Curt, loves new shoes.

His love affair with New Balance sneakers almost borders on the obsessive/compulsive scale. Last Sunday, I lowered myself onto one of Penney's padded benches in the shore department and waited.

He needed a size 9 Wide with a price point of $39.99 or lower. By the time he'd dragged the twenty-something clerk to his side, I was ready to browse the cutlery display across the aisle.

"These are it. They fit perfectly," he said as he checked the shoebox.

"They look like your old ones."

He laced the shoe strings. "They are the same ones. They're a perfect fit." I shook my head and thought about the four novels I'd written.

A Perfect Fit. None of them felt like a perfect fit to me. Each one lacked something but I hadn't been able to put my finger on what it was.

How can I expect any of them to be a perfect fit for a publisher when they aren't to me?

I've got this perfect story simmering inside of me. I feel it. Somedays I hear it. But it hasn't come out yet. I'm not sure how many books I'll have to write before it does.

Sometimes that worries me. Sometimes it makes me wonder what I need to do differently.

After he paid for his footwear, my husband announced he'd wear them to the gym later that day.

Perfect.

Maybe it would give me free time to think about my story.

Have you written the one yet?

42 comments:

Nehha said...

I haven't. I can feel it, but don't think it's the right time to pen it down.

I have this feeling that says "I need to be far more experienced about this tricky affair before I shell out my side of the story".

Heckety said...

Like I have the perfect doll waiting to be made?
Yes, BUT, how many 'wrong' shoes did he have to wear before he found the perfect ones? Have you heard the joke- 'In order to find my Prince I had to kiss an awful lot of frogs.' (Not speaking personally, OF COURSE!!) but...it takes time to reach perfection, and as long as you/I keep at it we will reach that story/ doll.

Andrea said...

I don't know if I will ever write "the one" or not...but it is for sure that I will keep writing until GOD tells me to stop.

Thank you for your prayers and support. They mean so much to me.

Blessings,
andrea

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Perfect is such a weird word in my head.

I've written some books I'm proud of and I hope intrigue others and inspire them to think.

So, perfect...no. Promising--hopefully.
~ Wendy

Heather Sunseri said...

I think all of my ideas are some form of "perfect" at one point or another. They also suck at times. In other words, I'm not sure a "perfect" exists in my world, but I always strive for good enough to make a reader think and grow and dream.

Lin Floyd said...

perfection is a process and comes only with continued effort and failures along the way....

Lynn said...

Sometimes I'll write a line and say, wow! that's perfect. Where did it come from?? But never are all the lines perfect. However, as a whole, the piece can be excellent. I like striving for excellence. Perfection to too much pressure. And is is even real?
As the old running shoe adds said, 'just do it.' Doing is excellence in the making.

Diane said...

Probably not..... still looking and thinking like you. :O)

Jan Cline said...

Im so inexperienced, I dont know how I could be even close to the perfect one. I love what Im writing right now, but it's way too early to tell if it's the one.
What an awesome analogy.

Lydia Kang said...

Depends on the day of the week! Two weeks ago I was sure I'd written "The One". Last week, I was sure I hadn't. This week, uh, maybe.

I know that feeling, though. I'm waiting for my writing quality to catch up with my internal ideals.

Great post!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

I have no doubts about my storyline. Getting it down on paper and accurately communicating it is another deal. I'm getting there inch by inch. (Remember, by the inch, it's a cinch. By the yard, it's hard.)

Blessings,
Susan :)

Nancy said...

Great post, Terri. No, I haven't written the perfect book yet. It may still be in there. Hope you get yours out, the sooner the better.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Always the one I'm working on seems to be the "perfect one" because I am in the creative part, the discovery. After it's done, I'm already thinking to what's next. However, I have a particular fondness for Tender Graces, and for Sweetie :-)

Terri, are you writing what you really want, or are you writing what you think someone wants? I had to ask myself that a couple years ago and then just let myself do whatever I felt like.

Sally said...

I haven't written 'The One' for the publisher, because none have been published, but those I have written were 'the one' story for me. I write the story I want to read. It would be 'the one' for others out there if they knew it existed, alas, until a publisher is convinced the pleasure is soley mine.

patti said...

I have written three "the ones" but only because I feel they are the ones God has laid on my heart. Not perfect, but the ones. The fourth one is underway.

It's great to be back here!
P

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

I love shoes, all different kinds: heels, flats, tennis shoes, hiking boots, flip-flops, mules, and etc.

Do they all fit perfectly? Some better than others.

Maybe you have to try on a lot of shoes to find that perfect fit, but the perfect fit can be in all different kinds of shoes, just like your writing might fit in many different genres. Okay, that's a stretch. But I just want to show that once you find the perfect fit for one story, you can go on and find more perfect fits.

I didn't mean to write so much. Oops.

sarah said...

I know what you mean about feeling and hearing the perfect story...but not able to write it the way I imagine it yet...One day....

Karen Lange said...

Not yet, but I'm planning on it! :)
Blessings,
Karen

Janna Qualman said...

Oh Terri, I so love this post. I appreciate your train of thought, and the fear it leaves, and the drive toward perfection it must bring.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

So true!

I have... I'm hoping it'll be a perfect fit for a publisher!

Jill Kemerer said...

Nope! None of them are perfect, but they're all the right ones. They were what I was supposed to write, if that makes any sense?

Susan Fields said...

They all feel like the "one" at the time, even though they're not perfect. Hopefully one of them will be "the one" for a publisher someday!

Jessica Nelson said...

Ack. I have NO clue. Glad your man found some shoes. :-)

BECKY said...

Hi Terri! Great post! I believe that I am working on the "perfect fit for my publisher"...not a "perfect" book (which I think is what you meant?)..Anyway, it's gonna be FABULOUS!! That's one reason I have officially taken away my self-imposed deadline. I don't want to just write a book, I want to write a FABULOUS book! And it will be: to me! And hopefully to many others!! Do you know that quote by Toni Morrison? "If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." ~Toni Morrison

BECKY said...

Hi Terri! Great post! I believe that I am working on the "perfect fit for my publisher"...not a "perfect" book (which I think is what you meant?)..Anyway, it's gonna be FABULOUS!! That's one reason I have officially taken away my self-imposed deadline. I don't want to just write a book, I want to write a FABULOUS book! And it will be: to me! And hopefully to many others!! Do you know that quote by Toni Morrison? "If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." ~Toni Morrison

Cindy said...

Far from perfect for sure. But I've felt strongly enough about more than one of them--strong enough to query them. That has to mean something, right?

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I know the pb I just started sending out is perfect. It tells an amazing story and is written in the tone I wanted. I had an agent tell me to change it into an MG, which I am doing...but I think it's an awesome pb and I'm trying anyway...I think it's right...I hope someone will agree. (I can't believe I was so bold, but I hear you should trust your gut...)

Angie Ledbetter said...

I've missed visiting and keeping up with what's going on, but I'm hopefully back on track now! Loooove the new header too.

Why you do as hubs did with his new sneakers...take that novel idea out and give it a workout! Maybe it's just waiting for you to get sweaty before it trusts you to come out. :)

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Terri....Every time I start writing a book I feel this is the one, but once I am halfway through the first draft,its a different feel altogether.

Jody Hedlund said...

Terri, What a great story! You were one brave woman to shoe shop with your hubby. He sounds like mine! And I don't have the patience to clothes or shoe shop with mine!

I'm not sure that there is a "perfect" story. I think that there is a "break in" story for each of us. Perhaps the four you've written are your practice books, the ones in which you've learned the craft. I know I've had mine. But then once we've mastered the basics, then its a matter of getting the right book, in the right hands, at the right time--something that sparks their interest and fits the market need at the time you're submitting it.

Have a wonderful day!

Jennifer Shirk said...

Well, I think I written at least one that was "the one" to me but not to anyone else. LOL
I still feel that way, but I do know there are problems with the sotry that I haven't tried to fix. But I always think about going back to it and trying.

Doris Plaster said...

There will always be a point of "perfection" we want to reach in whatever our projects are. I think it's a good feeling. The challenge, the challenge...as I always repeat in my mind. Great post.

Terri, thanks for visiting my blog and your kind comment. Remember, you have walked in my shoes!! :-))

Doris

Jeanette Levellie said...

I loved that line about the cutlery aisle! Which tells me you are much closer than you think to writing IT, because you showed me how frustrated you were becoming rather than simply telling me.

You CAN do this, dear Terri. God is inside you, and He has all the brain and creativity in the universe. So.

Sassy Granny ... said...

Since I'm not a published, much less declared author, I suppose I can be somewhat cavalier in my response. But the truth is, I write for an audience of One, with little care as to marketability. Maybe that's exactly why I'm not published, or even called to get published.

I so admire your focus and the thought-processes that go into crafting your works.

Blessings,
Kathleen

God and Ponytails said...

I think that you never know which story will come to a miraculous fit! Even when you send in your manuscript you wonder- if it was good enough. But sometimes against all personal belief- it fits with the souls of readers in a way you never expected.

Amy Tate said...

No Terri, I feel like God is still working on me. He's teaching me to be still when all I want to do is run. Like you, I have a story brewing. One that I keep putting on the back burner for another time. The more it brews, the more God teaches me. Somedays I get frustrated and want to quit the whole thing. And then there are days like today where I'm content with the kids and the dog and my coffee. I have to remember that He's the author and I'm just the peon with the pen.

Linda Glaz said...

For me, yes. But for the reader, I'll only know that if the editor writes to Terry and says, "We want it." Then it will be up the readers. Oh, please, please, please, please, please!

Gwen Stewart said...

What a great post and a fabulous question...it really made me think! No, I haven't written 'the one' either--but as I type this, I wonder if many pubbed authors secretly feel that they haven't either. That the perfect book shimmers just out of their reach. Somehow I get the feeling that it's more than we think!

Have a great weekend!

Rita's Random Ramblings said...

Each I write something I feel that same lack. I can pick out a paragraph here and that's good.

I wonder if it's the emotions of having creative talent. It would be interesting to interview a few successful author's and get their take on it.

But, no, I have not written the one yet!

Hugs, Rita

Kathryn Lang said...

Your story made me think of the Dr. Suess "Old Hat, New Hat" book. Maybe that perfect story is the one that fits just right but we are too busy trying to fit a mold or find the next, best thing to see that.

Lots to think about. Thanks for this post.

sanjeet said...

Perfect is such a weird word in my head.

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