I have been working on “My Story” for just about five years now. I have had only a hand full of people read it, but I have received great advice from each of them. Every time I read a section of my (hopefully) future book, it continues to be edited repeatedly. When I first started writing about some of the events of my life, I was doing it under the instruction of my therapist. The thought of ever sharing any of it with anyone never crossed my mind. Yet here I am. Willing to put my work out there. I am beyond nervous, but if I can reach just one soul with my words, it will be more than worth the possible embarrassment and judgments.
This is where I should warn you of what sort of topics my story will cover. I will tell you right away that I do not believe that it would considered as an “enjoyable” book. It covers mental issues, including severe depression, borderline personality disorder, anxiety disorder, ADHD, panic disorder, conversion disorder, suicide, self-mutilation, bipolar disorder, insomnia, and possibly other psychiatric issues. There will also be situations where the topics of rape, abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, and mental), and abortion. Certain medications and medical procedures may be discussed as well. My story will also include topics that we all can relate to, such as love, relationships, and typical day to day struggles.
My story is not one packed full of cookies and rainbows; rather it contains much suffering, heartbreak, loss, pain, and feelings of overall worthlessness. I would like to guarantee that my story will have an over-extraordinarily feel good ending, but my story is not over. However, I don’t want you to think you’re about to read just another depressing story. My story is about how I have faced what life has thrown at me and moved on with my life. Once again, my goal in sharing is not to inform people of what I’ve been through, but to hopefully help others (even one person) who may be struggling with similar issues. I do not view myself as a victim, but as a survivor (I use that phrase quite a bit). I am in a much better place than I was five years ago, and I am extremely optimistic that my story will eventually receive it’s happily ever after.
I chose to write my story in third person – always referring to “she” or “her.” The reasoning behind this is simply that at the time I started writing, I felt safer writing about certain events when I could say that “she” went through it. At the time, I was not ready to fully face my past, but I think I am going to keep the third person outlook going. However, there are also points throughout the story where I have flashbacks and for these situations I chose to use first person and italicize the excerpt so readers will hopefully come to recognize a flashback when it comes up. I hope this is enough of a distinction that readers will not get confused.
I am completely open to your thoughts about the style and content of what I write. I have been writing this book in a unique way, as I didn’t feel like a narrative could ever give my life experiences the power to really make people think. So, my goal for style of writing is to make it seem like “her” story is happening as your read it. I attempted to achieve this style by using short, chopped up sentences to represent how fast life happens. You don’t always have time to think everything through, and sometimes you catch yourself thinking about everything all at once. Life can seem like it’s rushing you through each moment, and sometimes that results in not being able to get a clear thought developed in your head. With each short sentence, I want the reader to be compelled to keep turning the pages because not only is it easier to read and relate to, but also it gives the reader the option to feel every emotion that “she” is feeling.
There are a few things I am struggling with while trying to achieve the perfect style of this type of writing. I feel as though sometimes I use too many words, whereas other times I can’t find enough words to describe what’s going on at that moment. But maybe that helps add to the real-life feel? I mean, sometimes you can describe things so vividly you could paint a picture, and other times it’s as if there are no words to begin to describe what you are going though. You feedback is MUCH appreciated.
Another issue I’m not sure how to tackle is how to refer to each new character. I want to keep each character’s identity anonymous, so from the beginning I gave each person a little nickname. I’m not sure if this is effective or confusing, especially as more and more characters are introduced. It’s difficult for me to tell because I know who every nick name is referring to, but I would love your opinion on if this is a helpful tactic or if I should consider fake names for everyone.
I will be sharing my story slowly, one excerpt at a time, all while continue to edit previous and future points of the book. This is a difficult thing for me to do, even though I’m not quite sure who, if anyone, will even read my story. But any and all input is welcome. There are so many ways I could tell this story, but I would really like to try to maintain the unique style I began with.
So, if I haven’t scared you off, please read my excerpts as I post them, and like I stated multiple times – please give me your feedback! Positive or negative, I want to hear it.