This week our #WriterWednesday tips come from an author that shouldn’t need an introduction, but if you don’t know her I’m so glad that you are getting a chance to meet her via The Neophyte Author. Pay attention take notes, this may seem like the basics, but we all make mistakes and overlook certain things because we never knew it was wrong or because we’re trying to be creative.
Bestselling, award-winning author Michelle Stimpson has penned more than twenty-five Christian fiction books including traditional bestseller Divas of Damascus Road, the highly acclaimed Falling Into Grace, and Amazon #1 bestseller, Stepping Down. She has also published more than fifty short stories through her educational publishing company, WeGottaRead.com. Michelle holds an English degree from Jarvis Christian College and master’s degree in education from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is a part-time language arts consultant and serves in women’s ministry at her home church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. She and her husband have two young adult children and one crazy dog.
You can find Michelle online at:
FB page: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleStimpsonWrites
If you’ve been following the Neophyte Author then you know that I’m embroiled in a bitter battle that may the result in some really great writing or a major catastrophe (thank you, Jesus for editors). I decided not to give up and try and press through the challenge of using a first person narrator, which is something I have not attempted since I began my writing career. While listening to my Christian Fiction literary role model, Michelle Stimpson on the radio she stated that she loved writing in the first person. I took that as a sign from God if you’re going to do this she going to show you how to do it right. Following her interview we had a great conversation, which she blogged about, “First-Person or Third-Person” and I am now blogging about the impact that conversation had on me.
Three great points that came out of that conversation for me:
1. Michelle admitted that one thing that made writing LaShondra of Boaz Brown in first person relatively easy is because she and LaShondra are the same person.
2. What does the story demand? Is this story about the character or about the plot? That should play a role in determining who tells the story and how the story is told.
3. She’s a journal writer, so first person is very natural.
With that in mind I thought about:
1. What is my relationship with Kira Seagram, the protagonist of Tempted to Touch. Do I know her? Do I like her? Am I her? The truth is a lot of me is her and I didn’t want to admit that or deal with the issues Kira is struggling with in Tempted to Touch. But, if I’m going to do this as I said in Fighting with First Person (FYI This is not a How To) then I have to own my issues and honor Kira’s voice.
2. This story is about both the character and the plot. So, the person at the center of everything is the perspective that should be at the forefront of this story.
3. Journal writing is the key to unlocking the first person voice. The process for this piece must change in order for me to unleash the voice within.
Once I latched on to all of that I changed the process for writing Tempted to Touch. As an adult I don’t engage in journal writing as much as I did when I was younger, but yesterday I channeled that energy and instead of sitting in front my computer to type a story I actually immersed myself in the act of writing. By changing the process I was able to unleash the voice I was hearing in my head. In doing this I discovered the process has to match the voice. There’s still more to be done to settle my soul. Michelle also suggested I try rewriting one chapter in the third person and see which one proves to be stronger. Today I’m going to try that at some point, but I think I’ve found my first person groove.
How do you find your groove? What does your process look like when you hit a dilemma like this or are you always sure of the voice from the onset of the story?
While tuning in to my Christian Fiction shero, Michelle Stimpson conduct an interview tonight I heard the song “Pause” by Lisa McClendon and it was like a double scoop of blessings. After having Michelle not only minister to my personal life and minister to my professional career as an author I then heard a song that not only captures the frustration that many women feel, but gives Cynthia, the protagonist of Born at Dawn a voice. I shared this song with a friend on Facebook and she said “Pause” will be on the Born at Dawn soundtrack “when it is optioned for a movie” or the stage play should I chose to do that. Music is one of the minor characters in the novel and I can’t wait to share other songs with you, but for now please enjoy Cynthia’s anthem, “Pause” by Lisa McClendon and don’t forget to pre-order your copy of Born at Dawn