Friday, April 4, 2008

Write Honest

During this involuntary sabbatical I've taken from my writing, I've been doing some thinking.

Apparently all the calories I've been burning with all this thinking I'm doing, hasn't reached the lower part of my body...

But what I've been thinking about includes: a) my voice. b) my audience. c) my characters. d) the story line. e) what I should be eating. f) what I AM eating. Oops, I digress...

Lindi and Missy made some excellent points about voice this week. I thought I had found mine, but I wonder if in all the critiquing that's been done to my one manuscript, the one I'd worked years on but never really finished... Do you have one of those? ... I think I've critiqued the voice right out of it.

This leads into the point not to get bogged down by all the negativity you may hear about your writing. Try to remember why you started writing the story in the first place and cherish those moments. Like the one Kara shared in her comment, where someone runs up to you and can't separate real from fiction.

Way to go Kara!

So this brings me to my audience. Who are they? Are they Christians? Maybe you want to venture out into the world, but keep your values close at home.

If you're targeting Steeple Hill, as I have, your audience is going to be Christian by majority. That will affect the tone in which you write and how your characters handle certain situations.

A part of me believes I lost my voice when I started writing Christian Fiction.


That's a bold statement. I'm wondering as I write this if I should take it back. Yet I'm being honest. And I believe that's the current problem I have in my writing and my life.

I'm not being honest.

I'm not lying, mind you. But I'm trying to write and live and do things that aren't me. I've heard writers say before, write honestly. Write from the heart.

I love the Lord, and I want to write to glorify His name. But I wonder if in my reckless and sometimes careless way I go about life, that I am meant to write about what I know all too well. And that's the world around me that's falling short of the glory of God every day. Aren't we supposed to be the light in this dark world?

If you're where I am, I pray this inspires you to think about your audience. And I hope we'll all continue to write, no matter how bad we think it is, just a sentence a day, just a page a day. Just write and write honest!


  1. First of all, Christy, you have a voice. I emailed you...I hope you got it.
    But your point is right on. Every author has their way of seeing things, saying things and relating to things. That's what makes them distinct.
    I think the honesty and truth comes out as we grow.

  2. Thanks Lindi,

    That's what I'm trying to figure out, how to write honestly. I think the story I want to tell is bigger than me and I just pray that God will show me the path He wants me to take!

    And the more we write, the more we grow. I've got to write, write, write!

  3. Christy, I love your post. And of course I have several comments. :)

    1. Write through your whole first draft before you get it critiqued. I think critiques early in a book can hurt your momentum and can also hurt where your story is going (because most likely you may not even know where it's going yet. That gets discovered as you're writing).

    2. If you have a story burning to be told, tell it. Don't worry if it's too big for you. It's not too big for God to tell through you. Also, don't keep publisher guidelines in mind while doing your rough draft. I've even heard an editor (SH, I think) say not to hold back, to just write the story, then she can pull you back later in edits. Sure enough, you may get to the end and find it's not suitable for SH. That's okay. It may find another home.

    3. Even if you are writing stories that are targeting SH, go ahead and show your honesty in them. That's the part that can always be toned down later if needed. But keep your internal editor turned off during that first draft. After I sold, I had to edit out quite a few inappropriate words. I also had to edit out a bunch of kisses. And ultimately, it made the pacing of the story better. But still, the attraction and tension was in there. I just toned it down a bit with tweaking.

    Lindi, wasn't it Stephanie Bond who always said, "Protect the work"? I think what she means is to write honestly, like you're saying, Christy. And not to let your voice be critiqued out of you. Or to let yourself over-edit as it's written.

    Well, I guess you didn't ask for a book written in response to your post, so I'll quit my sermon! LOL


  4. Missy,
    No, I didn't expect a book, but I'm sure glad you gave me one! LOL!

    Gosh, there's such good advice here. I really hope someone comes by this because you and Lindi both have supplied golden nuggets of advice!

    I will really try to apply your suggestions, too. Especially about writing it all the way through and then giving it to my cp. I'm lucky to have cp's that can see a big picture and others that look at more detail. Yet, I think I've needed to write, write to find the version of the story I was supposed to tell, before I could see what the big picture was. I think suggestions of others sound good and may work for a chapter, but then it falls flat, because it's not portraying the story in my heart. So I can definitely see the value of writing the whole thing first, turning that internal editor off, and just getting it out of my system.

    Easier said than done... but it can be done!