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BlackFlag
07-24-2011, 05:07 PM
If this is the wrong area for this topic, I apologize in advance. I wasn't sure exactly where to place it.

I've always been pretty serious about my writing, however as of recent I'm starting to notice that I am becoming more and more interested in not just telling a story but telling my heart's story.

Let me explain: My heart's story is where I take all my hopes, dreams, feelings, friends, enemies, and experiences, and turn it into a fictional novel. I don't know what this novel looks like, but I can't wait to get started on it. Only problem is, I don't know the first step.

In someways, I feel like I want to attempt to answer some questions that have bugged me my entire life, but since I don't have the answer yet, perhaps that's why I haven't been able to start this novel. It also would require that I put in a lot of myself into it, and the thought of that is very scary.

I have tried to write several novels before, but all I left incomplete because I didn't feel as if the story spoke to me. It feels now like they were more of an exercise, preparing me for the real thing.

Now my question is what do I need to start this novel?

Is it more life experience?

Is it a spiritual awakening?

Or, more likely, is it to simply start writing it?

I don' know, but either way I will continue to write in order to find it; my heart's story.

Does anyone have thoughts on this?

Bracken
07-24-2011, 05:27 PM
I think... it's sometimes more difficult to write about one's own very personal experiences, than to write about entirely fictional characters.
I also think that very personal, from-the-heart stories often risk coming out sounding sophomoric- like something an angst-y kid would write.
I call them "all about me" stories. I used to write a lot of them when I was eleven, twelve, thirteen.
I figured my little childish traumas, triumphs, and heartaches were certainly interesting enough to make a novel out of, a novel that anyone sensible would want to read.
I was wrong. Embarrassingly wrong.

Maybe you- unlike me- have had an interesting enough life to write your memoirs and actually have somebody want to read them.
But unless your life has involved some great plot elements- for instance, adventure, travel, crime, etc- you might do better inventing these things for your story.
In other words, writing a fictional story about fictional characters, whose lives are far more interesting than ordinary people's lives could ever be.

Undercover
07-24-2011, 05:28 PM
Is this your very first novel? Then if so, write your heart out honey. Write what's go close to home, yet so far away...you can start by outlining perhaps? Picking your favorite locations visited, the kind of person you want your MC to be, anything. You can even be her for a while, or what you wanted yourself to be creating an even better, more stronger you. You know what I mean? And if and when you start this project, don't worry about a thing...don't worry too far in advice if it's going to be a seller or not. Write for you, a private you...a seductive you...a you that traveled somewhere never before. Have fun with it. It will be one of the best experiences in your life.

It's therapuetic too. And once that rough draft is complete, you have a solid written piece of work. That you can either enhance later, or keep for years to come.

I am looking forward to reading my work when I'm 20 years older and look back and say, wow, I wrote that? Having your heart in the center of a story is a keepsake to me. It will be a keepsake for your family and genrations to come.

It's keeping that writing career up after the first one that gets a bit harder. At least in my opinion.

You sound like you have a keeper on your hands. Just start writing and like I said, give yourself NO restrictions. Novellas and novellettes sell good too for e-books.

But then again, some people might come by and say, start with a number and word count goal. It's different for everyone. Good luck. You're on the right track!

BlackFlag
07-24-2011, 05:38 PM
I think... it's sometimes more difficult to write about one's own very personal experiences, than to write about entirely fictional characters.
I also think that very personal, from-the-heart stories often risk coming out sounding sophomoric- like something an angst-y kid would write.
I call them "all about me" stories. I used to write a lot of them when I was eleven, twelve, thirteen.
I figured my little childish traumas, triumphs, and heartaches were certainly interesting enough to make a novel out of, a novel that anyone sensible would want to read.
I was wrong. Embarrassingly wrong.

Maybe you- unlike me- have had an interesting enough life to write your memoirs and actually have somebody want to read them.
But unless your life has involved some great plot elements- for instance, adventure, travel, crime, etc- you might do better inventing these things for your story.
In other words, writing a fictional story about fictional characters, whose lives are far more interesting than ordinary people's lives could ever be.

That might have been your experience, but it's really the novel that I want to write. And although I love fantastical novels, I'm more interested in writing something about ordinary people. Besides, I'm not writing a memoir. But I do get what your saying, and--yeah--it is a worry.


s this your very first novel? Then if so, write your heart out honey. Write what's go close to home, yet so far away...you can start by outlining perhaps? Picking your favorite locations visited, the kind of person you want your MC to be, anything. You can even be her for a while, or what you wanted yourself to be creating an even better, more stronger you. You know what I mean? And if and when you start this project, don't worry about a thing...don't worry too far in advice if it's going to be a seller or not. Write for you, a private you...a seductive you...a you that traveled somewhere never before. Have fun with it. It will be one of the best experiences in your life.

It's therapuetic too. And once that rough draft is complete, you have a solid written piece of work. That you can either enhance later, or keep for years to come.

I am looking forward to reading my work when I'm 20 years older and look back and say, wow, I wrote that? Having your heart in the center of a story is a keepsake to me. It will be a keepsake for your family and genrations to come.

It's keeping that writing career up after the first one that gets a bit harder. At least in my opinion.

You sound like you have a keeper on your hands. Just start writing and like I said, give yourself NO restrictions. Novellas and novellettes sell good too for e-books.

But then again, some people might come by and say, start with a number and word count goal. It's different for everyone. Good luck. You're on the right track!Some good advice there. I think I really needed that kind of encouragement. Thanks.

Undercover
07-24-2011, 05:40 PM
You can write as real as you want. What genre are you interested in? Crime/Thriller/Mystery would be a realistic novel.

Once you start getting into paranormal, supernatural and sci-fi or even fantasy, that's a bit different.

BlackFlag
07-24-2011, 06:06 PM
You can write as real as you want. What genre are you interested in? Crime/Thriller/Mystery would be a realistic novel.

Once you start getting into paranormal, supernatural and sci-fi or even fantasy, that's a bit different.

I'm not really interested in any of those, although I've tried to write to fantasies and failed. Most of my short fiction has been literary/mainstream stuff, whatever that even means.

jeffo20
07-24-2011, 06:06 PM
Now my question is what do I need to start this novel?A starting point.

This is not meant to sound flippant or insulting. What you need is a place to start your story from. You have a series of experiences based on your life, now you need to make a novel out of it. You can start by creating a character, or writing about specific place from your life, or a situation and go from there.

Find a place to start. It may take a bit of casting about before you find the right place, but you'll get there.

Bracken
07-24-2011, 06:17 PM
A starting point.

This is not meant to sound flippant or insulting. What you need is a place to start your story from. You have a series of experiences based on your life, now you need to make a novel out of it. You can start by creating a character, or writing about specific place from your life, or a situation and go from there.

Find a place to start. It may take a bit of casting about before you find the right place, but you'll get there.


Right.
You should read The World According To Garp.
Garp's mother is trying to write the story of her life, and can't figure out a way to make it cohere.... until she hits upon the phrase "I was a sexual deviant".
This is the thread that runs through her life, tying it all together.
She ends up calling her memoir "The Diary of a Sexual Deviant" (if I remember correctly) and it is successful beyond her wildest dreams, and she becomes a cultural icon.

BlackFlag
07-24-2011, 07:21 PM
jeffo20, that was very helpful. Thank you. I started writing something, but it's more like a memoir or something. . .I don't know what to call it but I think I may have found what I was trying for. I would share it with you, but I don't think that's allowed until you reach a certain number of posts. Thanks a lot though. I just had a really good session.

I think sometimes I also just have to kinda let go and right, and not worry about writing a "novel".

latourdumoine
07-24-2011, 08:10 PM
Five years ago, something triggered that same reaction in me. I needed to write a real-life story, but I didn't have the answers, and more to the point, I didn't even have the question. I wrote another story, which basically wrote itself. On the surface it had nothing to do with the story I wanted to write, but when I looked at it later, after finding out most of the facts (and the questions), I realized that it had everything to do with the experience that triggered the desire to write the story. My point is, just write whatever comes to mind. If something triggered this interest, focus on that. Say, it was a person, play around with that person's character, play around with different aspects. Or at least play around with the season / time when you had that feeling. I'm still in two minds as to whether or not to write this story, the true story because it would hurt and betray too many people.

As for people's lives being worth telling. If you have the right voice, you can tell everything. I'll try and remember who wrote that book, it's about a post-menopausal journalist in Ireland, who never got married. It's billed as fiction, and on the surface, it should never have made it past the slush pile. I mean who wants to read about some old maid and her regrets? But it was so well-written, I read it in one sitting.

About the autobiographical stuff in your story. Look at Barbara Cohen's Tell us your secret. It's for teens and about teens who are aspiring writers, but there was one part in there, where one boy said he didn't feel comfortable putting so much autobiography in his works. And the teachers told him that it was funny he'd say that because he was actually the one who put the most of himself into his works. And they were the best pieces in the group. I think it'll become clearer when you read it.