Friday, January 29, 2016

Putting it Aside

Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin's mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage--two aspects Robin weaves into each of her 25 published novels. When she isn't writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty-five+ years, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons--in the South, where else? She serves the writing community by serving as Executive/Conference Director for ACFW. Her books have finaled/placed in such contests as the Carol Award, Holt Medallion, RT Reviewer's Choice Award, Bookseller's Best, and Book of the Year.

I remember the first manuscript I hacked out on a typewriter. (Showing my age, aren’t I?) It was bad, and I mean, bad. That was back in the 90s. Thank goodness I lost that manuscript in one of my moves. Yes, it was THAT BAD. The good news was (and still is) one story does not a writer make.
The next one I hacked out wasn’t AS BAD, but it was still pretty bad. And the next one—well, it was improving, at least. Again, one story does not a writer make.

Then I wrote a story I just loved. Wrote it, rewrote it, polished it until it was “ready.” Submitted it to a publisher. Imagine my surprise when I received a form rejection letter. You know the ones that are addressed to Dear Writer? And another. And another… Back then, I didn’t even realize that “unsolicited manuscript” would get that form rejection letter quicker than quick. That was early in 2000.

Between then and now, there have been many a manuscript on my computer in various stages. Some completed, some not. Some I really love, some…well, not so much anymore. But there is a story on my system that I love. It’s one that comes straight from my heart. It is ready for submission. Again, let me reiterate, I LOVE this story. My beta readers love this story. But for some reason, editors don’t. Or it’s not right for them. Or it’s too similar to something they’ve already contracted. Or . . .

Know what I’m talking about? There comes a time in every writer’s career when they have a story that means so much to them, is so personal to them, that it’s almost obsessive in the way we write, rewrite, and edit that story. When it’s finally ready to go out, we just KNOW it’s going to be snapped right up. But it doesn’t.

Each writer will come to this crossroads sometime in their career. Each writer will have to cross the hurdle, much like overcoming writer’s block. Each writer will have to make that painful decision to either independently publish, or put the story aside and move on. Yep, you heard me—put the story of our heart aside and move on to something else.

Ouch, that hurt. For me, it was several months of pouting. Kicking the couch. (Would never kick my dogs) Pouting again. Stomping around the house until the hubby and kids were cowering in closets. Depressed. Angry. Pouting.

And then I grew as a writer.

I saved the story of my heart onto a jump drive. (Ok, two different ones—I’m obsessive, what can I say?) Then I did the hardest thing: I deleted it off my desktop. My heart pounded, I felt nauseous. But I knew I had to. I didn’t break down. My heart ached only a little before I did the unthinkable—started a new story. I’d learned there’s a time to put away a story and move on to something else. One story does not a writer make.

I still miss that story of my heart sometimes. Every six or seven months, I pull out the drive and read through it. I don’t save it to my computer though. I read it, then put it away. In early 2000, I’d moved on to something else, and doing so got me published.

One story does not a writer make.

One day . . . one day it’ll be that story’s time. It’ll be its turn. And I’ll take it out, probably revise it for the millionth time, and send it out again. Who knows? It might be snapped up in a minute. Or I might publish it independently—the timing might be right for it then.

Until I decide, I’ll keep pressing forward. Keep writing what I can. Keep giving each current story all my attention. I’ll keep doing so because I want to be an author, because I DO have more than one story in my heart.

One story does not a writer make.

As a white water rafting guide, Katie Gallagher must battle the forces of nature on a daily basis. When sabotage becomes apparent on a weekend rafting trip, Katie must determine who she can trust—and who has their own agenda. Hunter Malone has a mission on a business adventure trip on the Gauley River, a mission that didn’t include a spunky guide who could handle the class-five rapids better than he’d ever imagined. But can she handle the truth?


chappydebbie said...

So, is Torrents of Destruction that heart story? Great post.