Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Beyond Voice

Most writers worry about finding their voice.

Not me.

I worry about finding my story.

Of the six plus novels I’ve written, only one sticks with me.

 I started my writing career writing non-fiction—stories from my life that came easy and usually bringing emotional results. I have yet to find that level with my fiction.

So I am praying and waiting and taking stabs at starting and stopping new stories. It makes me wonder if there is a way I can combine what I know into a story format.

Yesterday, I started reading my favorite author’s latest book. Already she has sucked me in and I am attached to her characters from page one. I want that kind of story—one that resonates with who I am and what is important to me.

Let me ask you some questions. Have you always fallen in love with your story from the beginning? Are you always satisfied with your results that you’ve written the best story you can? 

36 comments:

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I've fallen deeper in love with some than others. For me it really is a lot like marriage. I go through seasons with my novels.

The beginning tends to look a lot like a honeymoon while first edits resemble first fights.

When it's cleaned up and I've grown "old" w/ my MS, I can appreciate it for all it's taught me--how I've grown w/ it.

~ Wendy

Susan Roux said...

If writing is like painting, and we both think it is, then no. Satisfaction rarely comes to the creator. It's why we keep doing it over and over. I think it's what drives us. We have in our heads that we can do it better than what actually show up on canvas (or paper).

I think the most important is to continue to create. Eventually you hit something that you actually like.

Anne@A Little Fur in the Paint said...

I guess I am on the "painter" side, then...but my voice, my "story" is slowly coming out in my blog...my daughter just told me that she didn't think she was a blogger; she was waiting to write her "sizzling" novel that would be made into a screenplay...♥
Anyway, love your blog; I'm a new follower!
Best,
Anne

Jessica Nelson said...

Nope, I'm not.
You'll be fine. Just start writing and forget genre and even rules. I think a lot of it will come naturally to you now anyway. I hope you find the story that thrills you! :-)

Tamika Eason said...

Generally, I start well. I'm energetic and excited; I love the possibilities that lie with in the pages past where I am. Then I trip over my fearful thoughts, and words fade from my grasp. I wonder if I can deliver something worth reading at all. This explains the three novels that are all in various stages of completion:)

And when I get to this place, God tells me that I am not alone. And I find His strength is perfect in my weakness. He is teaching me to finish well:)

Lin Floyd said...

I still write weekly columns but my focus has turned to poetry-which challenges you to capture more with less words. Hopefully it will run off on my non fiction writing. I'm not into fiction at all and that's okay.

Keli Gwyn said...

You're not alone, Terri. I question myself and my stories frequently. I think most writers do. I trust that by continuing to write--even when doubts are swirling around you-- you'll discover the stories inside and will experience the joy you felt while creating your earlier ones.

Dayle @ A Collection of This and That said...

I've yet to tackle fiction, but I fear I would have the same issues, and I'm not sure I have the imagination that fiction requires. I'm too much of a realist, I suppose.

Kenda Turner said...

I identify with what your saying--what is my story? I've fallen in love with the setting, some key elements, the character sketches I have so far. But what is the story? It's coming...but rather painfully!

Great questions :-)Wishing you fantastic breakthroughs in your story writing.

Stacy Henrie said...

I go through periods where I love a story, then other periods of self-doubt and discouragement. It's surprising to me how tough it is to write a new book or finish a book - every time. :)

Typically I get it as good as I can, then I'll have to do some adding (since I tend to write on the shorter side). As I add/flesh out the story, that's when I start to love it again and see it's potential.

Loree Huebner said...

I have fallen in love with some of my characters. But we know them like family, and can only hope that other people will fall in love with them too.

I say take that one story of yours that sticks with you, and work or re-work that one. If it touches you...there's life in it.

Carol Riggs said...

Yeah, I never worried about finding my voice. I just wrote. I think I HAVE loved every story I've written--but only while I was writing it. LOL Afterward, I saw the flaws. But I kept going. I'm on novel #15 now, and am learning how to revise. The first 10 novels I didn't revise much; I just moved onto the next obsession.

I love it when I read a published book that sucks me in from page one! Hard to find those, but I love it when it happens. It's like finding a whole sand dollar on the beach instead of a partial one. :)

Retired English Teacher said...

I admire you for attempting fiction. I just don't have a story in me at all. I did when I was younger, but I never pursued writing then. I think you just keep working at it. I think your feelings are very typical for those who write. Write through it.

Melissa Marsh said...

If I'm not in love with my story when I begin it, I won't spend the time writing it. IMO, you MUST be in love with it enough to put the work into it. This doesn't mean you'll always love it - sometimes you will hate it with a passion - but it has to be a story that speaks to you so much that you MUST write it. Otherwise, what is the point?

Cheryl Linn Martin said...

I always worry, Terri, about my story, but I also trust that because I've prayed every moment along the way that it IS the story God wanted me to write.

Ahhhh . . . faith and trust--so hard so much of the time!

Julie Jarnagin said...

My story and I have a very volatile relationship. I love it. I hate it. If my story was a person, we would definitely need a therapist. Sometimes I get frustrated because I don't feel like I'm living up to my story. I know that's just the self-doubt kicking in, but it's difficult when I have something in my head that I can't get down into words.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

I love authors that consistently write what you want to read! I have fallen in love with many of my stories, but in retrospect, I know it was because I'd built them up a lot in my own head. They'd been stories of my heart or characters I related to because of an issue I was dealing with in my own life. I think I'm finally finding a balance now of what I love to write mixed with what readers want to read.

Jill Kemerer said...

I usually don't love my stories until I'm in the final stages of revisions. It's not that I think they're bad, it's just I know how much better they will be.

One thing though, I won't start writing a book until I'm positive I can write a good story. If the characters and plot aren't there, I move on to the next idea.

Karen Lange said...

These are great questions, Terri! Like you, I was never concerned about finding my voice. I just write, trusting that it emerges as I do so. I need to trust a little more about the story, but like you, I'm getting there. I think it will all come together for you and me in time.

momto8 said...

my favorite books are always my least favorite in the beginning!! But I still push on and make myself figure out what is actually going on...

Beth K. Vogt said...

People -- the experts, the infamous "they" -- say to write the story of your heart.
Well, I'm not sure I've done that.
My debut novel has pieces of my heartbeat in it.
So does book 2, which I'm working on now.
So, I guess in some ways they are both books of my heart.
But do I love 'em? Some days.
And some days I can think of how to make book 1 better ... but I have to accept I'm done with that book ... and move on.

Just Be Real said...

Terri, thank you for sharing a little bit of insight into your feelings of writing and what you favor. Blessings.

Sarah (Nikki) said...

Me too I don't worry about voice but finding the right story. There's a couple of fiction stories I have on the go...one in particular that I'm loving but my problem is that I get so far and then hit a wall.

Have a beautiful day out there Terri....

Rachna Chhabria said...

I fall in love with some of my stories while I hate the other stories I have written. I always feel I can do a better job.

Jeanette Levellie said...

No. Sometimes I hate my writing, while others love it. Then I have times when I love a story, and someone tears it to shreds, leaving me broken and bruised.

I care way too much about opinions, both others and my own.

Cheryl Klarich said...

I believe that your persistance will pay off! I for one can't wait to read your stories. Praying for that one, the one that resonates with you to launch onto the shelves!

Rhonda Schrock said...

Sounds like you're writing again, Terri? After quite a break? You've had such huge stuff going on in your life, my friend. You're living an amazing story every day!

I don't write fiction, but I devour it. So I'm not a good resource for you there. I can be an encourager, though, and tell you how faithful He is to give what we need at the right time.

Waving and smiling,

Rhonda

Anonymous said...

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You with ROBERTA- PAKISTAN?
She's known as ROBERTA ORCHARDSON?
She's really KENCO- OREGON?
With UNTIL- DATIL- CHOMME?

Julie Gillies said...

I know exactly what you mean, Terri. Certain books have characters that resonate with me, and I ALWAYS admire that in a writer. You're right--those characters simply pull you in.

I occasionally (and momentarily, I might add) daydream about writing a novel instead of nonfiction, but in the end I stick with where God has led me. Mainly because understanding story arc, character development, etc. etc. are all mysteries to me.

Keep going, Terri! You're going to get there, my friend!

Jennifer Shirk said...

I do fall in love with my story or sometimes more my characters. But if I work on a story too long then I may not have that same feeling.
But yeah, I don't worry about voice either. I think that comes naturally.

Nancy said...

I always love my story when I'm writing it. When I read it much later, I either say, "whew, that's awful." Or I say, "did I write that? Really? This is good." You just never can tell.

Sylver Blaque said...

Yes. And yes. To a degree. I mean, every layer forces you to explore the layers beneath...which, really, is the point.

Love your blog!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

I didn't find my story. It found me, grabbed me by the arm, and sat me down at the computer. Was I in love with it from the beginning? No, but the characters have won me over and even wooed me into writing a trilogy.

Lynda R Young said...

Interesting question. My latest WIP is one that's taken a long while to warm to. It's only in the editing stage that I've fallen in love with it. In a way, not being in love with my story from the start helped me to stay objective about it. I didn't care about wiping scenes and reworking characters because I wasn't attached to any of it.

covnitkepr1 said...

I’ve been following and enjoying your blog for a while now and would like to invite you to visit and perhaps follow me back. Sorry I took so long for the invitation.

Jackie said...

Hey Terri!

I've been MIA in the bloggin' world for a long time and I'm back in the saddle and stopped by for a visit. Pray that all is well with you!

Enjoyed this post. To tell the truth, I have all these story lines swirling around in my head and once I begin to pen them, I either love 'um or leave 'um! Kind of a love hate relationship! But I'm working on it!

Blessings!
Jackie