A couple of weeks ago during the live broadcast, I asked for some questions. I received a few and thought I would answer some this week. I did answer directly, but I am an advocate of the theory if one person asks a question, more of the same are out there.
Janel asked, “Do you find you have aspects of your own story in your novels or do your characters develop apart from your own story?”
I can’t speak for all authors, but my characters sort of flow in their own direction, develop their own persona, at their own pace. Now, that’s not to say the scenes are unique. Often I’ll reach into my experiences to place the characters in the story. I also interject my expectations into the characters — right or wrong.
As an example, I definitely am not my lead character — Samantha — however, I placed her in situations I am familiar with or had experienced. Then I unleashed her and let her run free.
The end result for me, when I read through the novel for the last time, was I recognized locations and the timeline but was entertained by the story. I felt like I didn’t create Sam … I met her … I followed her life … I shared in her joys … I felt her pain. She became a close friend.
Of course, my characters embodied real life characters — me, my wife, friends, family — the best parts (I hope), even if idealized. Yet, once they started talking, once they started moving through the story from point A to point B, they journeyed entirely from my imagination. I was often surprised with the directions they took and their reactions along the journey. My role as author was simply to thread the pieces together, to give it continuity, to move it along, to bring it to a reasonable conclusion.
I hope that answers the question.
Nancy asked about Wisdom From a Father. She said she wasn’t sure what it was really about, but as she let herself just enjoy the read, she found herself focusing on the reasoning behind the each chapter of the book. Her question was how difficult it was writing a series of short stories with a “message” rather than a novel.
That was an interesting perception. Personally, it is easier to write short stories. You don’t have to weave them together as you do with a novel or novella.
Writing is an art. Everyone has a story, but not everyone can write. Writing is communicating, sharing your story with a wider audience. Wisdom was a compilation of my blog posts, updated from their original post date. It was a special project because the blog allowed me to tell my story in short bursts depending on the issue of the day. One day I might reflect o a day in the gazebo; another might include conversations with God; still another might deal with the silliness in life; yet another the serious side of life. It was reflective. It was personal.
Nancy noted this “not quite devotional” book was inspiring and helps you to keep in mind what’s most important in life — living one in which God is leading.
That, by the way, will be the underlining theme for Wisdom From a Father, Vol. 2 … one dad’s thoughts on life.
Hope that explains short story vs. novel writing.
If you have any questions about my books or the writing process in general, just let me know.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: The truth about belief is it never fails.