Monday, July 4, 2011

The Story

Someday, I want to write the novel I call the novel.  It's the novel that, if I ever have the expertise and the idea fleshed, will be the greatest novel I've ever written.

Sometimes, when I listen to certain soundtracks, I catch a glimpse of that novel.  The novel that would stir up adventure and stir the soul at the same time.  A novel that would pull you in for a wild ride; a novel that a reader will never forget.

It would be that kind of novel that (I hope) makes a reader sit back, and say just one word.  "Epic."  And the novel that is in me, somewhere, brewing, is just that.  If it will ever peek out, that is.

And, sometimes I wonder; do all writers have that novel?  Do you, writer, have that epic novel hidden somewhere in your imagination, just waiting to spring onto a page?

Or do you, reader, look for that novel you might call an "epic"?  And I've found those.  I've found in Tolkien, in Batson, in Davis, in Hopper, epics.

"Wait," you might say.  "What about all of those novels you're writing now?  Don't you pour yourself into those, too?"

And I'd say, yes.  But I almost view them as practice.  Even if they get published, though, they are only a small reflection of the novel that I may never write.

And yes, I may never write that novel.  Because, if I would write it, it might span pages, and pages, and pages.  Books.  Even more.  It would be a huge project.  I may even venture to call it "the Story", because it would be one story, even if it were more than one novel.

This story would be one of those stories that stays with you for a long, long time.  Something that expresses what I already have burned across my heart; the flaming love of a Savior, the passion of a God who saves, the furious fight of freedom, the ultimate battle of burning light and encroaching darkness.

But I feel, if I even attempt to write it now, it would fail.  Because I'm just not ready.  My writing style is developing, but not developed.  I have a lot of ground to cover before the Story can be written.

So, I write little bits of the things that rouse the soul.  In The War Horn, I touch on freedom and self-sacrifice.  In The Book of Shaldu, I write of the battle between light and darkness.  In Revolution, I will try to show the revolution that happens when God comes to earth and sets things in motion.

Little bits and pieces.  Ultimately, all of the pieces are found in the Bible; someday, I will try and show them embroiled in action in a tale that readers will never forget.  Perhaps it will be written.  Perhaps not.

Until then, I shall keep writing.

So, writer.  Do you have that tale you burn to write?  Tell us about it.

I'll leave you with one quote that Mr. S told us at the OYAN Conference.

Which would you rather have?

 Imagine yourself a bestselling author, with over a million copies sold.  But the thing is, once the reader reads your book, they promptly forget about it.  They've read it. It's just another book.  You get the royalties and all that from sales, of course. But the readers aren't impacted by it.  It's average.

Or, you sell one copy.  Just one.  You get the little royalty.  But the one reader who buys that book will never forget the wild tale they found inside.  Ever.

Which would you rather have?


Mackenzie A. Lockhart said...

I'm definitely for writing that One Story that gets you little royalty but the reader remembers forever. Yes, I think every writer has that One Story they itch to write but just haven't the expertise to convey to their audience yet (of course, some do, like Tolkien, Lewis, Davis, etc.)


Charlotte said...

Definately the second option, because that would be the sort of book I long for. Epic, unfogettable.

"The Story", I have one in me, I live in the story to escape the real world sometimes. The problem is, whenever I try to even the teensiest part, it wont come out right. Frustrating.

Better be off, spanish homework to do *groans*. See ya.

Jessica Greyson said...

Jake! I love how you put this post together, so beautifully and thoughtfully done.

It is so true, I would rather write that one novel than write a thousand!

I really appreciate you philosophy on writing - I am practicing. That is so where I am and people keep asking me when are you going to get published, and the answer is when I feel I've practiced enough to write that one novel, that will make a difference to me if no one else. Now that I've written about 5 short novels I think I might be ready to take the huge scary jump at publishing but it has taken me all of the practicing to create who I am as a writer now. I finally feel maybe, possibly ready.

Your post really encouraged me Jake thanks for sharing your thoughts.


T.D. said...

You, my friend, just posted the post that I will never be able to articulate and write myself. Truly. I feel exactly the way you do.
I too, feel I have a "the Story." I sense that when, if ever, I write it, the mad craving to write will leave, and when I write after that, again, if ever, it will be relaxed and almost entirely easy. Perhaps a little fanciful and wishful imagining, but still..... (Novel writing, that is. Screenwriting is a different ball game ;)

My "The Story" is, in my mind, the story that I know is buried deep in me...... that I hear on the wind when I stick my head out my window as the sun sets, when I get that mad craving to write, and I want to put my soul out on the page in ink.... ouch, that was rather sappy, but sappy I am.

It's a fairy tale of pure epicness, in my head. One that is a close to perfection as something done here on Earth can get. Wishful imagining, but it keeps me going.

And I would rather a story that impacts one with no money than one that impacts none but makes money ;)

Awesome post Jake. Thank you.

Jake said...

One Story to rule them all...sorry, that capitalized "One Story" just made me think of that. ;)

The more your write, the closer you get to it. I still don't think I'm ready to write the Story, and I've slogged through a couple complete novels.

Main thing is, just keep writing. The more you write, the better you write. That's an original Jake quote. ;)

*bow* Thank you. It's always a great thing when I've found I've helped someone with a post, just as I might impact someone with my novel.

And good luck with that Story. Go for it, and keep writing!

@The Director
Or perhaps, we'll write the Story and find that we are hopelessly addicted to writing. (OO) All is speculation until we do it!

Hah, all writers are sappy, to some extent. If I weren't a little sappy, I would have never written this post. But I understand what you mean. You want to capture the wonder that you feel when you see such sights. :)

Thank you, everyone! Getting long comments makes my day. :)

Hannah Joy said...

Well, well, well. I most definitely have "that novel" somewhere in my mind, and I would venture to say that everyone, even non-authors, have it. Painters have "that picture," sports players have "that play," musicians have "that song,"...the list goes on and on.

And, in answer to your question...

There are many such books. Books that don't make the bestseller list, books that don't win a thousand Newberry awards, books that your friends look at you blankly if you ask them if they have heard of them. The Wingfeather Saga is a sort of example. So is Fins Revolution series. So is the Wilderking Trilogy. Yet all those are on my list of favorite books, books that have touched me, made me crack up, made me cry...
If you can make only one person in all the world read and be touched by your book, what on earth is money in comparison??

A bestseller list is a bestseller list. A life is so much different, and if you can put something that changes that life into the hands of another, something that touches, inspires, creates, have done a good life's work.

Thanks for the post, Jake.

RED~Scribe said...

Huh. I don't know if this post makes me want to laugh hysterically or cry hysterically, so I'll settle for neither. But you got it exactly right, Jake. That Story is there, lurking in every writers' mind. I think parts of it come out with every new piece of writing we produce, whether it be a novel or a short story, but it's so frustrating when only small parts of it shine through.

Precentor said...

I might be content with #1 actually :)

Chrisopher said...

That story is indeed in my mind, as well as in the minds of all aspiring, and some published, authors. It annoys me, to tell the truth, because I know that the story is overwhelmingly epic, but the plot still eludes me. No matter how much I try and discover it, I never can tell what it will be about.

I would go with the latter definitely. But if your book is truly good, you won't have to settle with just impacting one person.


Pathfinder said...

I too, would have to choose the one reader. A story isn't worth writing or reading if it doesn't stick with you. It would definitely be worth all the work if even just one person was immensely impacted in a positive manner.

I think most, if not all writers have that 'one story' somewhere deep inside them. I'm trying to find the words for mine, but nothing comes to mind. Perhaps some day, but that day is far off in the future.

Sarah Pennington said...

I would prefer #2, but I'd be content with #1. If they got even a moment of enjoyment out of my tale, I'd be pretty happy.

As for The Story, I'm still trying to find that out of all the ideas buzzing around in my head.

Excellent post, BTW!

Go Bold said...

Harper lee wrote one book in her life and it got really famous. its called to kill a mockingbird

Mikaela said...

I would love to have people who would remember my stories forever. So I'm pouring my heart into them. Me? Well, I would go for the second option, because I never want to be forgotten.

My stories are mostly in the Science Fiction and Fantasy catagory. I don't think people would foget them that quickly.

But you never know...

T.D. said...

"Or perhaps, we'll write the Story and find that we are hopelessly addicted to writing. (OO) All is speculation until we do it!"


"...But I understand what you mean. You want to capture the wonder that you feel when you see such sights. :)"

thanks for understanding. :) truly, I really appreciate it.

Jake said...

@Hannah Joy
"If you can make only one person in all the world read and be touched by your book, what on earth is money in comparison??" Amen. Couldn't have said it better. :)

Keep searching for it. :) It'll pop up here and there.

Indeed? I shall ask you why sometime.

Agreed. I know, but it was a hypothetical question. :) Something to ponder, yes?

It may be closer than you think. You never know. :) Just keep writing. That's the best advice anyone can give a writer, y'know.

Thank you! Indeed, we as writers all hope someone will enjoy and be impacted by our tales.

I have not read that book, but I plan to sometime soon. :)

Indeed. Methinks when I said, never forgotten, I meant more that it would not be forgotten because of the substance to the tale. The meaning. The moral. A tale that succeeds in that respect will truly never be forgotten; but it is true, some kinds of "weird" fiction like fantasy and sci-fi are hard to forget.

@The Director
Writers need community. :) We can't do this alone; we aren't lone rangers, despite popular opinion. I think we, writers in general, understand each other better than many other people understand us.

Star-Dreamer said...

I definitely have that story in me somewhere. In fact, I have already started writing it. It is "Eldrie" and it's HUGE. A series of nine books split into three trilogies... at the very least.

But SOTD is my experiment, because even though my heart is with ELDREI, I just haven't been ready to write it yet. So I work on SOTD and on THE SPINNER'S APPRENTICE and I continue to learn. Maybe one day I'll actually know enough and be confident enough to finish writing ELDREI, but until then I will keep writing, and writing, and writing, and writing, and... well, you get the idea. I have the drive, now I just need to keep the faith. and by God's grace, I will. :D


Jake said...

Hurrah! Fantastic news. :D I'm glad that the idea is already taking shape; I can't wait to read it!

By the way, what is this "The Spinner's Apprentice"? I have not yet heard of it. And I find it amusing that there's another "apprentice" book out there. I've seen at least four. The Ranger's Apprentice, the Healer's Apprentice, etc. Haha.

And good luck. Write with the passion of Christ!

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