You Don’t Choose a Story

“You don’t choose a story,

it chooses you.”

– Robert Penn Warren

Image of quotation marks.

Why I chose this author quote

I write travel mysteries with a historical thread. Or to put it another way, books that require a huge amount of research.

I’m also working on a scifi mystery series with an environmental theme. Or to put it another way, books that require a huge amount of research!

A story I read recently was set entirely in one place, and at one time. I could knock out a book like that much faster than one of my stories. Maybe I’m missing a trick here?

What’s an author to do? That story didn’t choose me.

There are authors who treat their books as products, and their business as just a business. But most of us don’t. We write what we love. We write about what hurts us, and what inspires us. We write what we want to be remembered for.

The stories that choose us are part of what drives us to write. After all, if we don’t write our stories, who will?

For some authors, this means publishing three or four books a year. For others, a single book can take years to complete.

What this author quote means to me

This quote is as relevant to readers as it is to authors. Yes, some authors are making lots of money by churning out lots of books. But not every reader wants to read those stories. 

Some readers want books that are the result of painstaking research. Some readers want books with intricate plotting. Some readers want books set in a fictional world, where every detail had to be invented before it could be written.

We are chosen by the stories that are right for us. No matter how long they take to complete.

What kind of time-consuming effort from the author makes a book more enjoyable for you?

Enjoyed this post?

You might also like The Light of Every Story.

Why not check out my travel mystery series on Amazon, or follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads or Bookbub.


7 thoughts on “You Don’t Choose a Story

  1. As long as a story is well edited, I don’t mind how it is written – I respect the author’s decisions, no matter what they are. There are one or two genres that I don’t enjoy very much by nature.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly. I don’t mind if there are still mistakes here and there – it happens, we’re all humans. At least, tell me you were serious about your book.

        Liked by 1 person

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