In Others’ Words: Author Whispers

Writers try to get so many things right.

We try to figure out when to follow the rules — and when to ignore ’em.

We try to make our fictional characters true to life so that readers talk out loud to them as they turn the pages of our novels. (Come on, admit it! You’ve done it too!)

We try to write stories that keep people up at night. After all, we’ve lost a few nights sleep over these same stories in the hopes that our readers can’t put our books down.

So much effort goes into the writing of a book … and yet, sometimes the most powerful moments are those unexpected moments of truth. The phrases almost left out. The sentences that slip into the story because they are the can’t-be-hidden beat of an author’s heart.

In Your Words: Writers — What are you trying to say when you write — and what have you whispered to your readers? Readers — What was the last whisper that escaped from the pages of a book, causing you to stop and think more deeply about life?

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18 Comments

  1. terri tiffany
    October 31, 2012, 5:23 am   /  Reply

    Oh I love this post. I’m in the middle of writing a story about a woman who thinks she can save her family but discovers that God has other plans for her life. As it evolves, I’ve found other truths to come out and it is those whispers that I lean into.

    • Beth Vogt
      October 31, 2012, 6:26 am   /  Reply

      I’m so glad this quote speaks to you too, Terri. This is one I am going to post over my desk, to remind me to listen for the whispers …

  2. October 31, 2012, 6:35 am   /  Reply

    Awesome post. The hero of the book I’m working on believes success is determined by wealth and power…until he gets both and finds neither fill the hole in his heart.

    • Beth Vogt
      October 31, 2012, 8:32 pm   /  Reply

      Ah, wonderful truth to weave into your book, Pat. (And congratulations again on that 3-book contract!)

  3. October 31, 2012, 6:48 am   /  Reply

    Last night I was talking to my husband about the books I’ve written and the underlying themes and things I was dealing with when I wrote them…makes me think of this. I can be trying to say one thing and it gets communicated in a unique and almost unidentifiable way.
    ~ Wendy

    • Beth Vogt
      October 31, 2012, 8:33 pm   /  Reply

      Isn”t surprisingly delightful when the whisper catches you unaware?

  4. Jeanne
    October 31, 2012, 6:51 am   /  Reply

    What a thought-provoking post. I think the message that I hope comes across is that forgiveness can lead to freedom, and that freedom can foster the relational intimacy between my characters.

    Thanks for sharing the quote today, Beth. I’m pondering it.

    • Beth Vogt
      October 31, 2012, 8:33 pm   /  Reply

      Me too, Jeanne, me too.
      That’s why I had to share it.

  5. October 31, 2012, 7:17 am   /  Reply

    I love that quote and your amplifying comments. I’m hard at a synopsis–maybe the romance thread of how youngsters help fix oldsters is stronger than I thought.

    • Beth Vogt
      October 31, 2012, 8:33 pm   /  Reply

      Hhhhm, intriguing thought, Dee.

  6. October 31, 2012, 7:27 am   /  Reply

    I will never forget working on the novel I finished earlier this year–which comes out fall 2013!!–and suddenly feeling like God was whispering to me: “Melissa, this is why you’re writing this book. Because you needed it.” My characters struggle with their identity, finding their identity in the wrong things. I hope readers catch that whisper, too. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      October 31, 2012, 8:34 pm   /  Reply

      I am certain they will, Melissa — and enjoy your wonderful writing too. I cannot wait to read your debut novel!

  7. October 31, 2012, 7:48 am   /  Reply

    love the photo and the quote. Makes me really think about how to let the story tell the story…quietly, like a whisper. Thanks for sharing this insightful post.

    • Beth Vogt
      October 31, 2012, 8:34 pm   /  Reply

      Sometimes the best way to share the truth is in a whisper …

  8. October 31, 2012, 8:48 am   /  Reply

    There isn’t a book of mine in which I don’t whisper numerous somethings, but only as a subtle thought breathed between the lines, as I am unwilling to say it aloud for fear of saying it wrong or in my garish, awkward voice & causing it to be misunderstood. Perhaps we authors are simply whispering to ourselves a precious truth as a reminder and hoping to encourage one or two others while we’re at it. Or could be it’s just me. 🙂

    In one of the books I’m reading now, the character made an observation that instantly connected me with the author: “It was as if she understood that each person she met would have wounds—some hidden, some on the surface—and the name of the wound wasn’t a high concern for her.”

    The whisper I heard: someone does understand about hidden pain and cares.

    • Beth Vogt
      October 31, 2012, 8:36 pm   /  Reply

      Oh, what a beautiful truth, Camille. Thanks for sharing.

  9. October 31, 2012, 6:51 pm   /  Reply

    I think this is true – sometimes the things that touch others aren’t things we completely intented in our stories. I read Wish You Were Here a while ago and really enjoyed it!

    • Beth Vogt
      October 31, 2012, 8:38 pm   /  Reply

      Hi, Stacy,
      It’s true — I’ve been surprised how WYWH has influenced readers in different ways — unexpected ways.

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