Sunday, August 30, 2009

Don't look now, but I can see my CORE STORY

New buzz-topic in the Romance Industry? Maybe not, but it's new to me.

Core Story.

From what I've gathered, it's the story behind all the stories you're telling.
When I first read this, I thought, "Oh, how unoriginal, to tell the same story over and over. I'll be damned if I'll only tell one story."

Well, it looks like I'll be damned.

In the Writers On Writing section of the August 2009 RWR, there is a great interview with Jayne Ann Krentz. She was able to identify the core story she was telling in a paranormal she couldn't sell and that discovery led her to the Regency genre where she did very well.

She made it sound simple. Simple is something I can handle even on my laziest days, so I took a poke at the stories in my brain...

It's like seeing a face in the texture of the ceiling above your bed. Once you've seen it, you can never go back. Every time you look at that spot, you see a chin, an ear, and the spaces where the eyes should be.

Unnerving, really.

I've been unnerved, dammit. I don't know how this is going to help me in future stories, and I don't know if it has ruined me. I do know that I have given myself a 'holy, holy crap' psychotherapy session that may or may not affect the rest of my life. And it was all so simple...

Hell NO! I am not going to share with you my core story. It turns out my core story just so happens to be MY core story, if you get what I mean. You can try to see it in my novels as they come out, but thank heavens the ones who know me best won't be able to pick out such things. Surely. Surely!!!

I suppose the real purpose in this post is, I don't want to go quiet into that good night. I want to rage, and I don't want to be raging alone.

Many of you will think I'm out of my gourd...still, or...again, was just a matter of time.

Some of you may never speak to me again, if you have the violent reaction I'm having.

But I can't help it. And neither can you...yes you!
Right now, you're wondering what in the hell I'm talking about. Some of you don't want to know. Some left the blog after the first manic paragraph, or curse word. But right NOW, in the back of your mind, you're wondering what your own core story is. Well, we're ALL wondering. So take a minute. Look at your current wip. Compare it to the one you recently finished. You were telling a story about a woman who....

Having trouble? Try peeling the story away from her, the genre, the trappings, the story set up. Just look at her. Is she interchangeable with your other heroine? How? What is that thing they both end up doing?

Take a minute. I started typing her basic arc. Starts here, meets hero, changed here. Then I realized my endings were similar--not the way a reader would see them, just in theme--a buried-under-six-feet-of-dirt kind of theme.

Take all the time you need. Then, if you've had any breakthroughs, if your core story eerily reflects your past, or how you wished your past would have evolved, share a comment. If you're like me, and your core story is too close to home, tell me. You don't have to show your core, just let me know if you found it, how it makes you feel, whether or not you're worried you might be found out, or whether or not you'll be able to write a more original story next time.

If I'm the only one out here, I'm going to look stupid, but I don't care anymore. In that same RWR issue, there is also an article called "What Make You Strong Makes You Sell", and I'm selling crazy baby.



WriteOnARiver said...

Our life is what makes us or what makes us want. So, subconsciously we tend to incorporate that part of us into our books. How many times have I said, "Ohhh, why couldn't I have, or, Gee, that could have been me. You'll probably see it in between the lines. As we find it in a letter, we can probably find it in the small print. We are who we are, who we are. You're right. I'm off now to blacken my mirrors inside and out.

Kristen said...

Sounds like an extension of 'write what you know.' We take from our lives what we know well and incorporate that into our stories. For me, it is fun to write a story where I am a small part of the heroine or she is a small part of me. That could be the core. Or the theme. It is carried through all our stories in one way or another. The core can be major or minor and it doesn't matter if our readers associate it with US or not. An interesting question to consider: is it the plot or the core that keeps our readers coming back for more?

Ainsley MacQueen said...

What was most surprising, was the unconscious stuff. I know I'm always writing what I know, but what one part of my mind is trying to tell the other part is rocking my world.

I knew my heroines are just a part of myself, but deep down, in the ATC and G's, there's a secret code that recites Shakespeare backwards.

Melissa Mayhue said...

Interesting blog, Ainsley. I can't imagine how anyone could pour herself [himself] into a book for hours, weeks, months and NOT have it reflect some of their basic belief system... because I believe your CORE STORY is really just a reflection of your CORE BELIEF SYSTEM.

I know for me, my heroines always have to dig down deep to ultimately realize that the power to find happiness lies within themselves -- not outside somewhere in someone else's hands. And that good SHOULD triumph over evil. And that everybody deserves a Happy Ever After. [Which explains why I write romance, I guess!!!]