Today is Veteran’s Day which means no mail and my three kids ate donuts while still frittering about the house in their pajamas, playing games and reading books. I see nothing wrong with these things. It is a day of reflection supposedly, but mostly its a day like most others with a few distinctions. It is a Monday. And like most days, it probably could be the start of a damn good story. Whether that story would be a drama, or mystery, or a romance, or a bit of science fiction depends mostly on the person telling it. After all, we all are a story, just waiting to be told.
I love a good story. It doesn’t have to be a happy story to make me love it. In fact, I think I like the hard stories even more. I don’t need a HEA (happy ever after) in the stories I read, but I sure would like one in the story I live.
I don’t remember the first story I read back when I was four and learned to read. But I do remember so many stories over the years.
I remember swiping my aunt’s romance novels and reading them out in the barn, the summer wind blowing the dust mites in the sunshine while I sat on hay bales. I remember reading stories of the holocaust before I’d even really figured out what all the letters in WWII meant. I remember reading of a little girl living in a big woods with her parents and sister. I remember reading of a pig and a very, very special spider who got not enough credit. I remember reading of a seagull with a fancy name. I remember reading of teenagers solving mysteries and of children living in boxcars. Of raccoons and hunting dogs and living in a tree on the side of a mountain.
I remember being transported away from my childhood and into someone else’s. I remember wanting a book to not end because I loved the character enough to forget I was reading about a character and not someone as real as myself.
The love of a story sells books and movie tickets and seats at the opera. It makes wee children snuggle onto laps and beg for another. It makes us leave this world and enter another and it is the very best thing ever.
Because all the stories of the world allow us to see worlds we might never be able to see with our own eyes.
If you’ve loved a story, do me a favor? As you start thinking about the holidays, consider giving books this year. They are easy to wrap, easy to ship, and with electronic options, they are perfect for far away friends.
But please, if you’ve ever loved a story, do not pirate books. Do not support book piracy in any way.
The book I wrote and am currently looking for representation for? It took me three years of writing to get it from its first incarnation of thought to finished manuscript. Three years of writing mostly at night, after I got my kids to bed and spent some time with my husband. Three years of thinking and dreaming and checking commas.
If I get an agent, then I will need to make whatever changes my agent feels would make the story better. Then it will need to be submitted to editors at publishing houses. If it gets accepted by a publisher, there will be at least 3 stages to the editorial process before moving to the next stage of publication.
All told, it could be 5 years from the night I opened up that first file on my laptop to my novel ever being held by a reader in a published format.
You all know I’m not mathematical genius, but even I can tell that 5 years divided by whatever the purchase price is a pretty small sum.
Writers don’t write stories for the monetary thrill of it. We write for the love of the story. But we still have to pay the rent, buy our kids shoes and spaghetti. So if you’ve ever loved a story so much that it stayed with you after closing the book, please share that love. Tell someone about the book, buy books for gifts, and never, ever read a pirated copy.
Please. For the love of the story and the storytellers.