Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Heart of the Story

Authors are often asked what inspired their stories. Perhaps it is more import for writers to consider their personal connection to the idea. What was the driving force behind the time, effort and heartbreak of writing the novel?

It’s easy to forget the heart of the story when slogging through revisions. My spy novel failed because I lost sight of why the story was important to me. Several well-meaning critiques suggested I cut much of that material. Perhaps the concept wasn’t of general interest. Perhaps I hadn’t figured out how to tell it. Once my personal connection to the story was removed, and my main character was relegated to tag-along sidekick, the story wasn’t mine anymore, and the manuscript became generic.

I’m currently reading The Lost Crown by Sarah Miller (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2011), a history of the four daughters of Tsar Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra of Russia. I know that the tale will end with bullets and bayonets in a basement, but the heart of the story, the loving and realistic relationship between the sisters, keeps me turning pages.


Natalie Aguirre said...

So hard to know when you're cutting out the heart of the story. But I can see that if you do, you lose the passion for it.

Kim Van Sickler said...

Excellent point. I just finished Dana Reinhardt's "The Things a Brother Knows," and am emotionally exhausted.