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Tip Tuesday #167

Tip Tuesday features writers' tips on craft, research, querying, blogging, marketing, inspiration, and more. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

Hey all! I hope your summer is off to a great start. We've been busy hitting the parks, barbecuing, and entertaining guests from out of town. Need to get a beach trip in soon!

But today, I have a new tip from Heather Villa who authored tips #150 and #161. You can find her at her website, Heather Villa Writers, and on Twitter.  Enjoy!

Literary Love 

Are you in love with the story you’re writing? Or do you just sort of like it? Your answer will make a difference in how your literary commitment is perceived.

Falling in love with the words you write, often parallels falling in love with a person. Not everyone will support your opinion. However, when you sincerely present your commitment, others may eventually see what you see.

When I brought my boyfriend home to meet my family, he wore an Iron Maiden t-shirt, and his long hair, cascading down his back, covered the tour dates. Following obligatory handshakes, my dad called me aside and asked, “Are you crazy?” Then my teenage sister whispered, “Is he upwardly mobile?” My mom’s reaction towards my new man was different. She liked what she saw. She had an advantage. I already told her many fascinating tidbits about the guy in my life. On that memorable day, within a couple of hours of visiting, my entire family started to also fall in love with my boyfriend. My confidence in my rock band boyfriend was infectious, elevating his honorable qualities to an irresistible level.

Before I even thought about introducing my boyfriend to my family, I got to know him. He is level headed in stressful situations, has a weird ability to retain useless information about nerdy facts, and is a sweet son. Plus, he is fun. I no longer simply liked him, I loved him.

If you only like the story you’re writing, maybe you haven’t really gotten to know the essence of your narrative. The writing process is similar to young love.

We all know that books should ideally begin with a spectacular declaration. The words shape what’s to come. Not always, but sometimes, the first opening sentences, in the early drafts of a manuscript are awkward. A writer is simply “getting to know” the tale to be told.

In new love interests there are unknowns. But when each other’s passions, dislikes, and even fears are revealed, the awkwardness subsides. Plus, when experiences are shared, relationships become more grounded. And what’s also revealed, are the quirks. Hopefully, another person’s annoying little habits aren’t a deal breaker. What’s left is a multi layered connection.

Manuscripts deserve time to mature. The relationship between an author and the story itself can be complicated. And even messy. Yet, time does heal a manuscript that’s rough around the edges, revealing the unseen. Eventually, the author will fall in love with the story more deeply than ever imagined.

 Isn’t it obvious when two people are madly in love? There’s an energy that can’t be concealed. While some onlookers will embrace what they see, others will look away. That’s a reality.

But when a story is loved by the author; there will be a circle of captivated followers.

Epilogue: I married my boyfriend.

~Heather Villa

44 comments:

Neysa Kristanti said...

Awwie, this post is soo sweet, and that's a good thing you two ended up married :)
It's also pretty true, too. I also fell in love with my story, and even if it already make me stressed out no less that maybe five times (??) I still try my best to make it happens, because well, that's love. :D

Thank you for sharing too! Amazing post :)

Neysa @ [B.O.O.K.L.I.F.E.]

S.P. Bowers said...

Loving your story does make a huge difference. And really why would you want to spend so much time and effort on something your only ambivalent about?

Anonymous said...

Love this tip (and the story)!

Beth said...

What a nice story! Fortunately, I'm in love with my manuscript right now - good thing, because I'm spending so much time with it!

Anonymous said...

Perfect post. Now I know which story to write next. Thank you.

Old Kitty said...

Awwww what a most romantic writerly tip! Yay!!

Take care
x

Heather Villa said...

Thank you, Neysa! I like what you wrote, "I still try my best to make it happen..." Like writing and love, never give up.

Heather Villa said...

I couldn't agree more. Thank you.

Heather Villa said...

Thank you so much.

Heather Villa said...

I hear you. Thank you. :)

Heather Villa said...

How exciting! I hope you fall madly in love with your story.

Heather Villa said...

Thank you for your sweet words. Happy writing!

Martina Boone said...

Hi Hearher,

This is so true. I don't fall in love with a manuscript until I fall in love with the characters. And I don't fall in love with characters until I know them really well. Most importantly, I think, readers can t fall in love, connect, with our characters until we pour what we know out onto the page.

Thanks for the tip!

nutschell said...

loved this post! And what a great analogy between writing-and dating. :D Sweet that you ended up marrying him. :)
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Angela said...

Great post. I like your statement, "falling in love with the words you write...parallels falling in love with a person."

Thanks for the tip.

Heather Villa said...

I like how you wrote, "I don't fall in love with a manuscript until I fall in love with the characters." The statement reminds writers that writing takes time. Thank you.

Heather Villa said...

Thank you, thank you!

Heather Villa said...

A devotion to writing is an unconditional love. Thanks for reading.

Kristin Lenz said...

Aww, that was a sweet post. And interesting to reflect on our stories this way. I've definitely fallen out of love with a manuscript, and then had it rekindled after months of absence!

Unknown said...

This is such a fascinating metaphor, and it makes me see my relationships with my books/WIPs in a new light. You just can't pick who you fall in love with. I wish I could fall in love with an story idea that was awesomely commercial and high-concept. Alas, I've fallen for something more pedestrian. What can you do?

Ann Finkelstein said...

As the mother of two sons who frequently wear Iron Maiden T-shirts and sometimes long hair, I loved this story.

Heather Villa said...

It's true that a whole lot of time is required to build the literary relationship. Congratulations on your renewed "love."

Heather Villa said...

You're right. We really can't force who we love. Best wishes to you. :)

Heather Villa said...

Thanks for reading. Now my husband's concert t-shirt is nowhere to be found and his hair is super short. But he's still the same, wonderful person. Your "photography" blog is terrific, by the way.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Casey, Hi, Heather,

You are so right, Heather .... we really do need to love our stories. Passion is EVERYTHING. How can anyone else feel the passion in your words if you don't!

Glad to hear the family loved/loves your boyfriend/husband. That's what life is all about: the simples acts of kindness, loyalty, passion, and dedication.

Heather Villa said...

You're so right about what life is all about...
Thanks for reading.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books said...

I love how she compared the writing process to young love. This was a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing!

Heather Villa said...

Thanks, Sara. Thanks for reading.

Crystal Collier said...

Awesome. Yeah, I have some WIPs that send my heart racing, and a few that I'm still at the hand-shaking stage. Lovely analogy.

Lisa Gail Green said...

So perfectly said!!! What an awesome post.

Rachna Chhabria said...

This post is sweet. Loving our stories makes a huge difference in our writing.

cleemckenzie said...

Totally agree. You must "know" your story and your characters. You must come to love them dearly or, in some cases, love to hate them. Super post.

Stina said...

I love the story behind the tip. At least Heather's family had an open mind in the end.

David P. King said...

Never thought of it that way before. Thanks for the ideas not brewing in my head, Heather. :)

Unknown said...

I agree that manuscripts need time to mature. I think that's why I find it impossible to sit down and plot an entire novel in one go. I just can't! I think the details need to "marinade" for a while, revealing themselves to me over time. That way I get to know them much better :-)
Thanks for the tip!

Nicole said...

Absolutely great advice on the tip, and a sweet story to boot!

Heather Villa said...

I understand the hand-shaking stage...while we figure out who our "main character" really is. Thank you!

Heather Villa said...

Even after I wrote the post, I found out more about the main character in my manuscript. And even though I've been married all these years, I often learn something new about my husband. Thanks for reading. Best wishes to you.

Heather Villa said...

So true. It's all about that unconditional love. Thank you!

Heather Villa said...

It wasn't so hard to convince my family. But really, my husband (boyfriend) had a lot to do with making a lasting impression. Thanks for reading, Stina.

Heather Villa said...

Thanks for reading, David. Best wishes to you!

Heather Villa said...

I know what you mean. I'm actually thankful my manuscript has been rejected by various agents. Over the last several months, I got to know my main character so much better. She wouldn't be the person she is today if she was accepted by everyone she met when I first introduced her to others. Wishing you the best with your writing. Thanks for reading.

Heather Villa said...

Thanks a bunch, Nicole, for reading this post. :)

Heather Villa said...

I like your statement about loving our stories in relation to our writing. If we love what we write, the overall quality will be seen by others. Thank you, Rachna, for stopping by this post.