Writing From Your Gut

by Sierra Woods, author of The Resurrectionist (Harlequin Nocturne)

We’ve all been encouraged to write the book of your heart. I’m suggesting you write the book of your gut. Every time I wrote the book of my heart it was…sweet, but no editor wanted to buy it.

Why wasn’t my book of the heart being accepted? `Cause it was a piece of crap!

For me, the idea of writing the book of my heart was great. No one would be offended by what I had to say in the book, everyone would love it, we’d all get along and everyone will be happy reading my little middle-of-the-road-sitting-on-the-fence books and we’d all sing kumbaya around the campfire.

Well, that didn’t happen.

Every manuscript I wrote was rejected. Our business is sometimes a brutal one. My ego was bruised, but I wasn’t ready to quit. So I changed tactics and researched an area I have expertise in (nursing) and found an editor who could work with my manuscript and turn it into something she could sell. Though I had nine books published that way, it wasn’t the book of my heart, and it didn’t inspire me to write great stories.

So what did?

When I found myself standing in front of my TV yelling at the reporter who was reporting about a woman who had been missing and then found dead a few days later. The trail led right to a family member who had been stealing her money for drugs.

That’s just not fair! It’s not right! That woman deserves to come back from the dead and kick the ass of the person who killed her.

I paused, midyell.

Well, now. Wasn’t that interesting? I’d inadvertently found something I cared deeply about and wanted to put into my books: justice.

Justice strikes a very deep, emotional and visceral tone within me. Truth. Fairness. Doing the right thing. These are all very important to me. So I decided to write the book of my gut, using the idea that made me yell at the TV. That woman deserved some universal justice. I couldn’t give it to her in reality, but I could in my fiction.

That’s when the first book in The Resurrectionist series was created. I wrote 80,000 words in 30 days. It needed work, but the framework flew out my fingertips like no other story I’d written. This was obviously the right story for me. I created a kick-ass heroine who had had her own trials but who was creating a new life for herself after she’d been given no choice.

If you’re having trouble discovering the great books within you, dig deep and find out what moves you. Write down the things that are important to you. What makes you stand up and yell at the TV? That’s what you should write about. That is the book of your gut.

What gets your visceral value system in an uproar and makes you yell at your TV?

About The Resurrectionist:

theresurrectionistEven the toughest resurrectionist needs protection sometimes…

And make no mistake: Dani is tough…so tough even the grave couldn’t keep her down. Ever since mysterious beings brought her back from her tragic murder, she’s been using her newfound powers to restore justice to the world of humans. It’s hard, dangerous work, and sometimes a little backup doesn’t hurt—especially when it comes from a hunky cop like Sam Lopez.

There’s only one catch: Dani’s past has taught her that she can’t trust another man. Besides, Sam has demons of his own to battle. They’ll just have to ignore the heat that’s building between them. Until a great evil begins to rise, and then Dani and Sam need to get closer than they’ve ever been.

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6 Responses to Writing From Your Gut

  1. Incredible writing…just couldn’t put it down. Thanks Sierra ! :-)

  2. Whipping through the book now. I can see why you call it the book of your gut. :)

  3. I know some books are written from the need to sell something. They’re well crafted, readable, and not really memorable. It takes dragging the story out of your heart and guts and soul to write the book that ends up dog eared on the bedside table or in the “keeper” section of the e-reader
    Thank you for sharing your heart and soul, and guts.

  4. Michelangelo once said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Keep setting the angels free, Sierra!

  5. Sierra Woods

    Thanks everyone! Great to see friends here.
    Has anyone had that experience of finding yourself standing up for something you hadn’t expected?

  6. Can’t wait to read The Resurrectionist! So happy it is finally out!

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