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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hungry . . .

by Nicole Petrino-Salter

Before I arrive at the body of this post let me ask you one thing. Please be honest if you choose to answer. Have you ever—since studying the craft of writing—read a novel where you didn’t want to change a single thing about it? Not a word, a comma, a reaction by a character?

There exists in most writers a hunger to be published. It’s genuine, deep and far-reaching, and it motivates most to improve what they perceive to be a calling, a purpose, a desire at the very least, to share words in a meaningful manner. When an individual is willing to spend hours, weeks, even years in front of a computer screen creating a story or writing longhand on paper, the inspiration which drives the dedication to telling that story ignites the determination to make it worthy of telling.

If I had to define story, this is what I’d say it is: Story is the composite of reality, the revelation of the soul. Story allows a reader to slip into another’s life. To experience another’s reality. To glimpse the soul of both the author and the characters which are revealed.

One of the amusing results of my first novel, Hope of Glory, was when my fellow racetrackers discussed and tried to guess who each character “really” was. Those characters were composites of everyone I ever knew in racing including myself at different stages of my life. One thing racetrackers got when reading that book was a comprehensive experience of the racing they knew and gave their lives to day in and day out.

So. The Hunger. There comes a point in time when that hunger for being published must yield to whatever the Lord has for any given writer. Where the actuality of getting published becomes secondary to whatever the Lord is directing. It’s that “die to self” thing which is, not surprisingly, hard to do. After all the study, work, and desire, the hunger to please the Lord must surpass all other ambitions. For some this is much easier to achieve than for others. We want it all. Of course we want to please the Lord, but wouldn’t He be proud of us receiving a contract, for crying out loud? And the answer is probably yes because if it wasn’t for Him, the contract wouldn’t be given.

Let’s face it. It’s just as easy to make writing and publishing idols as anything else in this life. Why wouldn’t God want me published since He called me to write these blasted stories?! I mean, come on. Don’t ask me. Ask Him what His plans for you are.

And I’m certainly no one to ask. I’ve “felt” all along that self-publishing was going to be the route I’d be taking which is rather interesting since I’m such a lousy marketer.

After all the hard work, a manuscript emerges. After sharing it, receiving suggestions, critiques, perhaps even professional editing, you gain a contract and it’s published. Many love it. A few hate it. Reviews come in all forms of praise and malice. It’s impossible to please all readers. Someone wants to change something; someone wants to erase every word. It’s the nature of the reading beast. Some authors will be challenged and excel; others will be discouraged and retreat to some degree. The hunger to write will eventually emerge and some will improve while others will remain the same. Some readers will still love you and those who hated you might still.

The only real satisfaction to the hunger comes in the pleasing whisper from the Lord’s heart: Well done . . . 

No one can do what He can do for us.

God, may my hunger to please you overrule all else. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Merry, merry Christmas, my friends!

Nicole Petrino-Salter writes love stories with a passion. You can find her most days here. Raw Romantic Redemptive


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