Before you read this, I have to confess that I posted this entry previously on my blog. But it was right before Easter and more than likely no one read it. So if it sounds familiar, come back tomorrow!
The other day I was nosing around online and came across a message posted from a writer who asked, â€œwhen do you know a story is any good? How do you know if its worth pursuing?â€
For me, it’s gut instinct. If the characters come to life and refuse to go away until I finish their story, then I know this is a journey I have to complete. I don’t judge if the story is “good” or “bad.” My agent does that for me. How I feel is that every story and character who has come into my life has done so for a reason.
Right after I turned in In Between Men (waaay back in September 2004), I wrote a drama about two sisters who never knew the other existed until their father was diagnosed with cancer. I loved the characters Dori and Sela, but the story was so so. I talked to my agent about it and she asked me what I was doing writing a heavy-handed drama when I’ve been publishing comedies? Unfortunately, she has an annoying tendency to be right and that story has since become an organ donor.
But I missed those sisters. Five or six months later, I was at a wedding and while eavesdropping on a conversation, found the story for Sela and Dori. Next month, “Till Death Do Us Part” will be inflicted on the reading public in Names I Call My Sister.
I’m not sure if I successfully answered this question. Perhaps some stories are meant to slip by the gatekeepers, or others are just the long way around to the real thing.
So I ask you: how do you know if your story is “good enough”?
Mary Castillo is the author of the upcoming anthology, Names I Call My Sister (Avon A, May 2007) as well as In Between Men and Hot Tamara. She was once named one of the hottest 25 people in the OC by OC Metro Magazine. She keeps the certificate in a prominent place so her husband won’t forget. Her website is www.marycastillo.com.