In Search of Core Story
By LoRee Peery
RWA members may be used to hearing a quote from Jayne Ann Krentz (who also writes as Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle). “Identify your core story—every author has one. Once you know it, you will be better prepared to figure out where it fits in the marketplace.”
Jayne has spoken numerous times on how she had to reinvent herself. While going through that process, she realized her core story is romantic suspense.
Julie Rowe has written about core story. Carolyn Greene has referred to it in her Plot Doctor presentation. Author friends of mine have responded with self-acceptance, taking chances, and finding inner/unknown strength as their core stories.
According to Webster, core is a noun, the central or inner part of anything. So what is core story? To some, it may be the guts of a story.
- What is my core story?
- What makes it different?
- What conflicts am I comfortable with?
- Why is it selling? [or not]
- What emotion is evoked in the first three chapters?
How can a writer wrap up uniqueness, comfortable conflict (sounds like an oxymoron to me), emotion, all encapsulated within voice?
I have mulled over the idea of core story. At one time I wondered if it’s as simple as genre or theme. But the idea of discovering core story niggled at me. It has to be more than inspirational romance.
Readers, and authors, may agree that a writer pretty much writes the same story over and over. Does that mean core story is intrinsic?
My core story is wrapped up within the spiritual journey of my romance characters. I also try to write using Nebraska’s sense of place. Okay, to me a Christian story means a tale of redemptive grace, which covers a multitude of sins. From that contemplation, I came up with my signature tag: Redemptive grace with a sense of place.
During this search, I concluded that my core story is redemptive grace. What’s yours?
copyright 2011 LoRee Peery
TELL US HOW YOU DISCOVER YOUR CORE STORY WHEN WRITING?
Note: an earlier version of this article appeared in “E-Notes from the Prairie,” Prairieland Romance Writers newsletter, winter 2009.