Monday, November 14, 2011

Finding your story

A few weeks ago, I finished writing my sixth novel. I wrote a romance this time instead of my usual women’s fiction because I heard a friend’s story and wanted to write it. 

Yesterday I spent hours revising. Not my favorite part but necessary. I have hours and hours to go after my critique partners send me the rest of their thoughts.

So where I am I mentally in this process? Do I have any more books in me?

With my last book, I received a few partial requests and a full but no requests for representation. I queried about twenty-five agents and then moved on to a new book.

I know the stories about authors who have had to write dozens of books and submit to hundreds of agents before someone took a chance on them. I know that. But I also know that selling a book comes down to story.

I’m not sure I’ve found that story yet.

I’ve improved my writing skills, read all the craft books I can get my hands on and have attended conferences and taken advice. You won’t find many badly crafted sentences in my work. That part is all good.

What I think I still lack is finding and crafting a story that keeps a reader’s interest all the way through from cover to cover.

I love the romance I just wrote. Note I said I love the story. Will anyone else? Are my characters memorable? Will I make a reader turn the page again and again?

I hope so but honestly I can’t say for certain.  What I hope is one agent will love it and believe in it. That’s what it will take.

How about you as a writer? Do you have that one story in you and have you written it yet?

50 comments:

Katie Ganshert said...

My debut releases this May...and I have to say that it's nerve-wracking.

My agent likes it. My editor likes it. But will readers? And the nerve-wracking thing with readers is this....

- it just takes one agent
- it just takes one editor
- but if only one reader likes my story, I might cry.

Lisa Jordan said...

My debut novel released this month. I'm overwhelmed and humbled by the comments I'm getting from readers.

If you love your story, your passion will shine through in your writing.

Tamika Eason said...

I say keep writing!

I have three stories that are tumbling around inside of me. Each of them are a piece of me that I'm almost hesitant to unload on the page. But I will because I believe God wants me to.

Amie Borst said...

i don't think the stories ever end. i have so many, i don't know if i'll ever write them all in my lifetime. if an agent likes any of them...well that's another story!

BECKY said...

Hi Terri! I'm always amazed at writers who have so many stories inside, just dying to bust out! That's not me. I've always written personal narrative: Chicken Soup for the Soul type storties, and I've been writing my memoir for way longer than I care to admit, BUT I know memoir is for me. I do not write fiction of any kind, except micro fiction once in a while. I applaud you for writing ONE book, and of course for writing more than one! Just go with what your heart and mind tell you to do!

BECKY said...

P.S. Did you write for the Blue Mountain card you have posted?? That is awesome!! Woo-hoo!

Jessica R. Patch said...

I'm with Lisa! If you have passion for your story it'll shine through. :) Sounds like you have a lot of passion for this romance!

Jennifer Shirk said...

I'm excited if you're excited about this story! Yes, all it takes is one YES!

Susan R. Mills said...

I've written one that I think is the one, but I guess that remains to be seen. I'm still tweaking it a bit. Best of luck with your latest story. I hope it's the one for you!

Keli Gwyn said...

Congratulations on completing your latest story, Terri. I'm excited that you wrote a romance. How cool that you love the story. If you do, I have a hunch others will, too. =)

Lin Floyd said...

I'm on my fourth self published book now-two non fictions, children's poetry book and a religious non-fiction. Now I'm focused on writing poetry and perhaps a photo poetry book next? Not sure just going with the flow...

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Yes, it's in me and I keep working to get it out of me. ;)

I'm willing to say I have more than one.

And my gut says so do you.
~ Wendy

Heidi Willis said...

Crafting a story is probably my biggest challenge. I am constantly working towards making each page turnable.

After my debut book, I thought that was it. I'd written the book of my heart. Now what? But I've discovered that every story I write, while I'm writing it, is the book of my heart. I write it because I care about it. And the more I write, the more I care. :)

Nehha said...

Yes, I do. But I guess over time I can put it across in a better way than writing it right away.

Loree Huebner said...

Yes I do, and I have written it...It was my first novel...and it needs tons of work.

I wrote it when I was very inexperienced. I believe that I need to have a few other novels under my belt before I can really go back and revise it to bring it to life.

Rita Garcia said...

Love this post, Terri! I'm finishing the editing process on my first novel. I'm also working on the the first draft of the second novel. I'm finding that whichever novel or short story I'm currently crafting seems to be my favorite. I'm in the process of working with an agent--so we shall see. All in God's timing all according to His divine plan. Hugs!

Jeanette Levellie said...

I'm so proud of you that you have kept in the race, Terri. Your time will come.

Even though my non-fiction humor book debuts in April, I feel I have a novel in my heart, but it's not ready to pop out yet.

Thanks for asking!

Nancy said...

I'm so glad you are this far along with your story. I hope it finds a publisher because I'd love to read it. I think my first novel was my best. It was so long ago. I don't know if I have any fresh stories in me.

Lynda R Young said...

I used to think I had only one story in me. I wrote it and now I'm onto my 5th. Each one I thought would be THE one. But ultimately it doesn't matter because I love the process.

Kara said...

I agree with it only takes one Yes. And look how far you have come with your writing, how awesome is that. Just keep writing because that is how you keep your stories alive:)

Sarah Forgrave said...

Congratulations on finishing your 6th, Terri! How exciting!

I've written a book that got my agent's interest, but time will tell if it gets the interest of publishers. :) I have lots of big ideas in my mind, and I look forward to exploring them down the road.

Jill said...

I've written five books, and felt the fourth was the one that would work for me. So far, no luck with it, but I haven't given up on it yet. I've started a sixth, too. Still, I'm so in love with the fourth--a love that never fades. Sigh. I wish you all the best with your sixth. An author's passion for a story is often what makes the difference.

Retired English Teacher said...

Good for you. I think that is an accomplishment worth celebrating. I hope you get it published. Follow your heart.

Sassy Granny ... said...

I love a good book, but I tend towards non-fiction, like biographies, historical pieces, bible commentaries. I so admire those of you devoted to bringing characters to life.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Oh, Terri...truly I don't have to say much. Your words mirror mine! With the last several stories I've written, I've thought they were "the one". But, I will say that it helps if you love your story. Not just like it but really love it with a passion. Then it will be something you're proud of inside and out when the time finally does come that you get that representation and contract. I'm rooting for you on this story!

Rahul Bhatia said...

It looks like an interesting read!Best Wishes..

Rahul Bhatia said...
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Rahul Bhatia said...
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Susan Roux said...

So happy to hear you've finished your story. Congratulations! I know you still have further to go, but this in itself is a great accomplishment. I hope you're giving yourself credit!

There's a little something inside me that tugs at writing... Are you ever inclined to try to paint?

Sarah (Nikki) said...

I hear you Terri....boy do I hear you. And I love your hang in there attitude..your drive to keep writing...to keep moving forward. I read about now famous people who queried so many publishers and then one day...poof...their dream became reality. Someone told me recently to enjoy the journey so keep writing and always enjoy the journey.

Cheryl Wright said...

Since 2000 I've been dropping tit-bits in a file - my story. I don't know when it will be finished and I don't feel pressured to get it done in a hurry either.

For now, I believe it is coming along as it should.

I do believe though that my story will be completed one day - when the time is right.

Rachna Chhabria said...

I have a trilogy dancing inside my head. I hope this will be The Story. I like your attitude a lot, Terri :)

Linda O'Connell said...

terri, I am so impressed, twelve books! I have two shelved, one I am revising. But I do better with creative non-fiction or personal narrative. I have more ideas than time.
Glad you are adjusting to your new church and town.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Terri, I hope this is the one for you! Lifting you in prayer!

I still think the very first novel I wrote has the strongest story in it. It's not written the best, but I love the story. I need to revisit it some day and bring the writing up to snuff.

Stacy Henrie said...

I think there's definitely something to be said about writing from the heart and loving your story. If you start with that, all the other stuff can be worked out.

Kristin said...

I keep finding myself asking, "What is my story?" I have so much inside, so many ideas and experiences and insights, I am unsure of where to begin. I've been blogging for almost 2 years and have always loved, loved, loved to write - I'm ready to start writing a story but I don't even know where to begin. Tips?

Rhonda Schrock said...

I wish I did, Terri, but you know me - I'm nonfiction. My book dream looks a little different than yours, but it's much the same.

Anyway, I wish you all the best as you keep pursuing your dream. Keep me updated 'cause I'm pulling for you.

Maria I. Morgan said...

Wonderful job, Terri! What an accomplishment to have six books written! I look forward to reading your most recent work in print! (That's my vote of confidence for you!) Have a wonderful week!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Great post! Diligence is key in getting published. :D You will find the right agent, Terri!

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Sally said...

It's a crap shoot. What one dosen't like another will, you just have to find that one person who enjoys what you have written. Your second and third with that person will be easier but the break through is a kicker. Hang tough!

Karen Lange said...

Congrats, Terri! :) I am not sure about me, am getting there. One day that story will be finished, though.

faith hope love ღ said...

I love your post! thanks for sharing..God bless you..loves soraya

Amish Stories said...

I'm visiting new blogs today for the first time, so i also thought id wish you a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your readers. And i hope that the day is spent generating positive memories for years to come. Richard from Amish Stories.

Nancy said...

Stopping by to wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Oh, good luck on finding the right person! I'm sure you will - it just seems to take perseverance.

Carol J. Garvin said...

I'm writing my fifth book and I've liked all of them during the writing. It's during the revising that I begin to dislike them! As Sarah suggests, I'm enjoying the journey but admit I haven't done much querying. There's always another story waiting to be written and when I reach the point that my revision has nowhere to go, I can't resist the siren call of the next one.

Still, when it comes to finding an agent or publisher, persistence is what every successful author seems to advocate, so hang in there, Terri.

Deb Shucka said...

One of the things I love about your blog is that you often say the thing I'm feeling and haven't quite put my finger on. I'm still struggling to find the frame of my memoir (which I still believe needs to be written). So the story is here - I just don't know yet how to tell it.

Lauren F. Boyd said...

How awesome that you had partial requests and even a request for a full! That is a wonderful accomplishment in itself!

I have heard the same thing that you have: acceptance of manuscripts (usually) comes down to the story and how well it is written. I hope your newly-penned romance story is "that story" for you - and for an agent (or two) out there!

Thanks, too, for commenting on my blog! It's always nice to see you!

Abbie Taylor said...

When I wrote We Shall Overcome, I thought I had a story to tell. After submitting it to a number of agents and publishers with no luck, I decided to self publish it. It was released in July of 2007, and it didn't sell as well as I'd hoped. I guess my story wasn't as phenomenal as I thought it would be, but that's okay. You don't know until you try, and if it doesn't work, then you just have to go on. Now, I hope that with my new collection of poems mostly about being a family caregiver, I can reach out to others in my situation and let them know they're not alone. If I'm not successful, that's okay too. Life will go on, and at least I'll know I tried.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome
and
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver
http://abbiescorneroftheworld.blogspot.com
http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com