Leah Farmer

Personal perspectives on faith, literature, and life.

Tell Me a Story…

As a child I wrote stories. I wrote short stories and I wrote chapter books. As I grew older, I became less brave about writing fiction and swung towards the writing of nonfiction, opinion pieces, a blog, and the occasional poetry.

Through the years an idea for a novel would hit me and I’d write it down. Then I would stare at it, not knowing what to do…at all. So I would just move on without even attempting to begin. This has been my pattern with story idea after story idea and character after character for so very long.

Then in the middle of my funk about a job I don’t love, the changes of seasons, and an uncertain future, I got the crazy idea that I would join National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo) and write a novel this month. I thought about it in the two weeks leading up to the start date of November 1st.

But then I set the idea aside because I didn’t think I had a solid idea. I didn’t have an outline. I didn’t know what I would say for this many pages. So you know…I was afraid.

The morning of November 1st, I was minding my own business making coffee when I heard lines of dialogue roam through my brain that stopped me cold. I ran the conversation through my head frontwards and backwards and thought, “There is something there. A story.”

By that afternoon, my laptop and I were down at the coffee shop putting the first 900 words together of a novel.

Here’s the kicker…I don’t know where the story is going. Sometimes even as I am writing it. I have described it to my friends by saying that my Spirit is telling me a story…and I’m enjoying it. I have little flashes of ideas here and there…things like…”I can move the story forward by having her speak at a conference in Houston,” or “He is going to have a similar gifting and his mother will have done research that will help both of them.”

Twice I’ve written something so touching that I’ve cried. Once I’ve written something so ridiculous that I banished it to the trash can. And several times I’ve written something and wondered how it would be received if the person it was similar to read my book and saw themselves in the character.

Some mornings I wake up wondering if I have a single word to say about these people every again. And other mornings I wake up and can’t get dressed until I’ve jotted down a story point or a plot point in the arc. Every morning I wake up and wonder, “Will I write enough words today? What is this character going to do next?” and/or “How do I make sure not to forget to come back to that little point I made in Chapter x?”

But NO mornings have I woken up and thought “Nah. I’m not going to write a novel after all.” Not one single morning since I was making coffee on November 1st.

It’s weird. But it’s mine!

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