I Don’t Write Correctly, But People Love My Books

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by Mary Ann Kerr

Writing has become a consuming passion. I can’t seem to stop and I don’t know from day to day what I am going to type next; it just seems to come. I am in the process of writing my sixth novel. This journey I am on was totally unexpected. I never thought to write a book let alone publish.

I wrote my first novel in six weeks. It was an incredible experience. Of course it took a lot longer to clean it up. During that time, I wrote two more and correlated all the facts within the stories. I had no idea that writing was the easy part of the journey. It was getting published that was the mountain I must climb.

I published with a publisher who advertised as a traditional publisher in a Christian Writer’s Market Guide. Although the experience taught me to read between the lines, the publisher was not traditional and I have quite a sum of money tied up in my first book Liberty’s Inheritance. Because of the lessons learned, I’m self publishing my second book, Liberty’s Land. I consider myself fortunate to have a high end graphic designer for a son! He did the cover for my first book as well as for the second.

I started to have a very well-known person in the world of writing have her company edit the second book only to find I don’t write correctly. I was surprised to say the least. I made the decision to not have it edited because it would end up costing a huge amount to change the way I write.

Most of my characters have internal thoughts which is not allowed. Only two throughout the book can think; I probably have ten. Wonder how Louis L’amour every got published? He has different people thinking in the same scene. At least I change scenes when I change the perspective! I suppose I’m old fashioned. I’m not young! I read a lot of books from the forties and fifties and unless the story is in first person, there seems to be a lot more than two people with internal thoughts.

I also have more than three people in a scene and more than two of them converse, which is not allowed. I’m beginning to wonder if everything is dumbed down to accommodate the younger generation.

What is gratifying is that people who read my book can’t seem to put it down. I never dreamed of men reading it but they are, and I am hearing from them as well as women. Good thing I didn’t want a woman’s face on the cover!

In a nutshell I feel extremely blessed by God and have made it my goal to honor Him in my stories. Every chapter begins with scripture and I’ve been able to weave good teaching within a story of murder and mayhem!

Mary Ann KerrMary Ann Kerr lives in Washington State with her husband, Philip. Living in various parts of the U.S., Canada, Germany, and Denmark, her travels have flavored her writing. Besides writing Christian historical fiction, Mary, a retired teacher, speaks at women’s retreats and luncheons. She has four sons and twelve grandchildren.

Comments 0

  1. My website is under construction, so you won’t find anything for a few weeks.

    Thank you for this article. I have much in common with you. I have two small books that I published with a publisher claiming to be traditional (Christian) and am still paying myself back for that venture.

    I am a mature woman just beginning this journey and am astounded with the ‘don’t do” list I am finding. I have asked myself if I will even recognize my own voice if I follow all of the advice I have received.

    I have decided that in order to stay true to me, and to the Lord’s calling, I must take all of the advice to Him and listen for discernment in what to follow and what to throw out.

    This article was very encouraging to me. Thank you. And thanks to Janalyn Voigt for posting its mention on twitter!

    Sharon Coleman

  2. Mary Ann, I read your post with interest and dismay. I write historical romance, and my eleventh book was just released by a traditional publisher and I have two novellas published also, so I’m wondering what editors gave you such advice?

    I have at least 4 POV’s in every book, they all have lots of internal thoughts because the reader is seeing the world from that character’s viewpoint. Most scenes have more than two people talking unless it’s a time I want my hero and heroine to be alone or I have an older character giving a younger one advice.

    So, unless your work is skewed in it’s timeline, written with scads of italics for internal thoughts instead of deep POV, full of grammatical errors or illogical events, then write who you are and with your voice.

    Yes, pay attention to a publisher’s guidelines if you’re targeting a specific one, but if you have a great story, then tell it.

    I’ll be 77 in less than a month, and God has been good in that I don’t know the “whole” story of books until I start writing them. I’m also a retired teacher, so we have a lot in common. Keep going, girl. Maybe we’ll meet at conference one day.

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