Writing for the Love of Story
A Developing Love of Story
God blessed me with the gift of an active imagination, and as a result, my mind has been filled with stories since as far back as I can remember. I was acting out stories on a home-built rickety raft down at the creek or laying out rocks in the shape of a boat…no a pirate ship! And I would stick a tree branch in the ground with an old sheet or blanket stretched out as a sail, take up my wooden sword and bandana wrapped around my head I would rule the seven seas! But what gave me the impetus to write a story?
I was one of five kids—the only boy dropped right in the middle point of four girls—and we loved games. Along with Monopoly and Old Maids we often played a card game called Authors. Robert Lewis Stevenson—Treasure Island—got me wondering if I could write a story like that. In high school I put my pen to paper to write story. I did not get far before I realized that writing a story was beyond my present abilities. I wrote some short stuff, but it wasn’t very good. I wrote simply for the love of story.
For the love of story I also read many of the books whose titles were from the Author cards. Along with Treasure Island I read Kidnapped, Ivanhoe, Last of the Mohicans, The Deer Slayer and many others-all classics. I read for the love of story, and because of my love of story writing a story was in my blood. As a result I enjoyed many frustrated efforts and many failures. Such is the reality of story writing. But all of those failures were steps toward future accomplishment—and many more failures.
I write for the Love of Story
It must have been around 1980, when I was thirty-four and had two young boys that I got serious about writing stories. I reasoned that my love of story would provide a good means of teaching the boys godly life principles. As I wrote The Helot (helot means servant) I would read it to them instilling truth and engendering discussion. As the boys grew I continued to write stories and read them to them. Those stories later developed into my Accidental Heroes series: The Helot; Dark Danger, Terminus, Primal Blade and Labyrinth (they had other names back then).
Once my boys grew up and left home I continued to write. Why? Because God had given me a love of story. So my next effort was classic fairytale, Wanzalara’s Cottage. It was also the first of my books to be published. It was accepted by a Canadian publishing house that promised to market it in the U.S. as well as Canada. They never followed through on the marketing and less than a thousand books were sold. But I was published! I was not writing to make money. I was writing for the love of story and I simply wanted to have people reading my stories.
I Write for the Love of Christ
My biblical worldview by nature underpins my writing. Most of my stories have a biblical truth related takeaway. They are written for His pleasure as well as the pleasure of the reader. Just as truth shines through Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, so truth shines through my stories. When Christ told the story of the prodigal son, truth shined through the story itself without Christ having to preach the truth. The story itself embodied the truth. The love of story and the love of truth wed naturally, if not the story won’t be worth reading.
The Love of Story and Publishers
Publishers do not care much about a person’s love of story. No, publishers want a certain number of words, a certain kind of story, a promise of sequels—whether sequels are in your mind or not—and what needs to be in a story if it is going to sell. A publisher’s interest is sales, and naturally so. My interest is writing stories—my story, not someone else’s.
I submitted Phantom Island Chronicles to a number of major publishers. They all liked it but it didn’t meet their particular needs. One publisher wanted to publish it but their requirement was a minimum of something like 80,000 words. Phantom Island fell just short of 60,000 words. I was told to expand the story and resubmit. Hmm. Add a bunch of extra words to a story that was already tight and complete. Forget it!
Truth be told, I had numerous other stories that were even shorter, and yet they were complete. Toss them in a drawer and do nothing? Ah, but a friend told me about Amazon’s CreateSpace. Through CreateSpace I began to publish my stories. The first published through them was Word of Honor which has become Seed of the Defiled (I am presently making some editing changes in those books—people found some of the names to be too difficult to pronounce).
The shorter stories I developed into Quick Read Books (see the sidebar video). They range from 80 to 140 pages and can easily be carried in purse or pocket for when you are in a situation where you might enjoy a “quick read.” I am told, “They won’t sell!” Well, I don’t care (though I have sold numbers of them) because I write for the love of story not to peddle books for the sake of peddling books. I write stories, publish them, and get them out there where they can be read. In the process I try to do a good job of having them edited and proof read so that they are an enjoyable read. However, I have to admit that I have gone back and re-edited most of them even after publication (you can do that with CreateSpace since it is publish on demand).
Anyway, it is all for the love of Christ and the love of story. And if you read my stories I think you will love them too. Give it a shot!
Engage with me. Your comments are welcome.