When a Story Must be Told - by Gail Pallotta  

Posted by: Lynnette Bonner in ,
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Many published storytellers say they never quit, when the story within struggled to find an outlet. And that’s the way it was for me. After working as an editor and copywriter and publishing freelance articles, I wanted to write a book. Since I preferred to write a Christian novel I attended Christian writers’ conferences.

At the first one when I learned that many readers enjoy romance, Destin, Florida, came to mind. I’d traveled there for the past twenty-two years and watched the white-capped waves lap white, powdery sand glistening in a reddish-gold sunset. Even though my book would be an inspirational novel about faith I would make it a romance in Destin. After determining a genre I attended a four-day workshop on plotting books with James Scott Bell, an award-winning writer and frequent speaker at Christian writers’ conferences. Also, I read several Christian romance novels and noted the common threads in them, such as strong, handsome heroes. Then, I devised the following plot.

The heroine, Cammie O’Shea, who is a feature writer for a newspaper in Cedar Forks, Georgia, moves to take a position with a new paper, “The Sun Dial,” in Destin, Florida, after she suffers a heart-breaking split-up with her fiancĂ©.

She has to interview, Vic Deleona, the hero and wealthy entrepreneur, to help get “The Sun Dial” off to a good start. Even though Vic is too busy with his real estate empire to even meet with her, his secretary gives her an appointment. However, from the moment he sees her, he wants to date her. In an attempt to get to know her better he schedules business appointments she must attend. Even though she is attracted to him, because of her recent heartache she never wants to date again. But she and a friend, Angie Jones, have break-ins at their homes, and Vic comes to their rescue. Just when Cammie sees a different side of Vic she receives an offer to return home to her old job. Will Vic win her heart, or will she leave Destin?

The answer to that question lay in the characters’ personalities, which I still needed to establish. I made a list of their likes and dislikes, including the foods they enjoyed and their activities, such as swimming. Before I started writing I also noted their physical appearances and wrote a few sentences about each of them. Even though I’d been in Destin many times, I researched the history of the town and the fishing industry there. I also interviewed a couple policemen about crime scene procedures, and spoke often with my husband, who is a residential builder, real estate agent and land developer. To incorporate Cammie’s job as a feature writer I called on my experience working for a retired Associated Press correspondent. By the time I completed my first draft my characters had taken on lives of their own in Destin, Florida.

After editing Love Turn the Tide several times I read it aloud to my husband and corrected the mistakes I heard. When I knew the words, paragraphs and scenes in my head so well I peered at the page without actually reading them, I edited the manuscript from the end to the beginning. Going backward made me see what I had written as if I were reading it for the first time. Lastly, I asked my husband and my daughter to proof the book and tell me about anything that seemed unclear or awkward to them.


After I made the corrections they suggested, I realized I only knew of publishers who accepted manuscripts through agents, and I didn’t have one. However, after two years of work I was ready to market my book, so I searched the web for a publisher. Sure enough, I found Awe-Struck, an E-publisher having a contest for a short, inspirational romance. I didn’t think I’d win, and I knew beyond a doubt that I was a computer klutz. But, I had nothing to lose by entering, and I easily could learn about cyber space if I were to win, couldn’t I? I did win and began my E-journey, which is another story.


But, I will say that I had a fantastic editor at Awe-Struck E-Publishers. Between the features I had written as an employed writer and the freelance articles I had sold, I had published around two hundred articles and had worked with numerous editors who had been helpful. I concluded that working with a good editor who knows the market was a plus. After meeting so many good authors online I also realized that every story had its own unique voice, depending on who was telling it. That made the struggle worthwhile for each of us.

This entry was posted on Monday, June 07, 2010 and is filed under , . You can leave a response and follow any responses to this entry through the Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom) .

16 comments

Thanks for dropping by to share your story, Gail!

Hi Lynnette,
Thanks so much for having me.

Your story gives me hope, Gail. I'm a computer klutz, too, and have a bit of writing history. Maybe there is a chance that my book will be published.

Wow, Gail, you worked so hard on this! I didn't realize you'd gone through so much. But I believe it was all worth it, as your plot sounds wonderful, and how romantic to set it on a beautiful beach. :)

Maybe next time you can set it around a beach ravaged by an oil spill and the fight the couple enters to save it. :)

Sylvia, you have an AWESOME chance at being published - your book is great!

Miss Mae, LOL - the oil spill idea - what a great setting for including the all important conflict! :)

Hi Sylvia and Miss Mae,

Yes Sylvia, there most defintely is hope. Keep learning about writing, sending out those manuscripts and looking for the right place for your stories.

Miss Mae,
Funny that you'd mention the oil spill. I'm getting ready to send out another manuscript set along the Gulf Coast. I was just asking my husband if he thought I should go through and put in something about the oil spill. He said, "Naw, don't worry about it. By the time it gets published it won't matter." lol

I enjoyed reading about your publishing journey, Gail. Love Turns the Tide is already on my TBR list and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Hi Anne and Jan Marie,
Thanks so much for stopping by. I'm happy you want to read Love Turns the Tide and hope you enjoy it.

Great story, and very inspiring. I love hearing publishing stories! :)

Hi Joy,
Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. Joy is such a pretty name.

Hi Lynnette,

Thank you for hosting Gail.

Gail, your story sounds wonderful and your characters interesting. And Miss Mae had a great idea for a plot.

Your idea of using the place you vacation as your setting got me thinking about Branson. That's where we've vacationed almost every year for the past 15.

Thanks everyone for your encouraging comments for Gail. It is wonderful when someone's story really resonates, and it looks like this one did!

Hi Laurean,

Branson would be a great place to set a book! Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks for having me, Lynnette.

Here's to tenacity, your great book, and lovely cover. Wishing you all the best, Gail!

Hi Danielle,
Thanks so much for stopping by and for your good wishes.

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