Monday, October 7, 2013

The Heart of the Matter

It's been a crazy month for me, how about you?

While reading Christine Rains' The 13th Floor series this week, something really struck me. Every member of the human family has a story deep inside--whether it's theirs, or something fictitious they're dreaming up with elements of reality.

So what sets amazing stories apart from the crowd? 

It's heart.

That's one thing Christine has done especially well. She really pulled the reader into the heart of the character's desires and fears. (You rock, Christine!)

Okay, for non writers, how does that apply?

What sets a person apart from the crowd?

It's heart. It's a willingness to share who we are from our very gooey centers.

As I was answering interview questions for my upcoming blog tour, I realized that 95% of what we allow other people to see about ourselves is fluff. It's the safe exterior shell. It's a socially acceptable persona. We build those facades to keep from getting hurt based on past experiences. It can be scary to expose those precious parts of yourself, and it really takes focused effort to peel back that shell and write from your core.
 
But have you ever met someone who was willing to open their whole heart up to you right from the get go?

I have. I work with them every week, teaching three of them school, and guiding a beautiful organization that facilitates lessons and activities for more than 70 of them. Is there anything so honest or amazing as a child?


What about you, are you willing to share with people what's in your heart?

63 comments:

  1. Yes I am most definitely willing to share what's in my heart with people. It's the only way I know how to live :)

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    1. You're one of the more open people I've met, Keith, and I love it! Stay awesome!

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  2. I keep pretty high walls around me. It can take a long time for me to share with people in real life. I think that's one reason I'm drawn to writing stories so much. That's where I'm more comfortable delving into emotions and being vulnerable.

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    1. It can be easier to share ourselves through writing than face to face, eh?

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  3. I'm guarded with most people, aside from my hubby and sons. Beautiful post!

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    1. I get that. Sometimes I wonder how interested anyone really is, but it's easier for them to be interested if we're open, I guess.

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  4. I have a hard time sharing things so intimate. I do share with a few, but that's only because I'm so close to them. Kids are better at sharing what's in their hearts. That's what makes them so wonderful.

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    1. Exactly. I think every adult should surround themselves with kids--just so they remember to be open, honest, and rejoice in the little things.

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  5. Great point! And so needed from characters we read about. I have no trouble opening up online or in my stories, but in person, not so much. I hate talking about myself.
    Congrats on your awesome cover!!

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    1. Thanks, Pk. I find it easier to open up through writing too. I'm not usually going to volunteer things about myself face to face unless it feels like the person is interested. Really interested. Makes it difficult to talk about the book. *sigh*

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  6. I tend to be very honest and frank. And those are the people I'm drawn to. Life is too short for anything else.

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    1. True. One of my best friends cracks me up because she's so straight forward about what she's thinking. I don't agree with her much of the time, but my goodness, it's great to know where we stand.

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  7. It depends whom I'm with what I'll share. I'm definitely not opening my whole heart to clients. But I try to with friends and family. And I agree, deep characters who show us their hearts make great characters.

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    1. I think many early authors make the mistake of hiding too much of their character's motives--thinking it must be obvious because they get it. Guess that's why we need outside input, eh?

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  8. This is a wonderful post.

    I'm a lot more open than I used to be, but I'm still not how I want to be.

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    1. I admire how honest you are on your blog. You encourage others to be completely open by how freely you share yourself. Thanks for that!

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  9. The 13th Floor is on my TBR list. I just need to make some time to read it. But the synopsis tells me this book is right up my ally.

    And I've learned to pick and choose my friends carefully over the years. I don't mind sharing my heart. But I do think before I leap.

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    1. Wahoo! It's awesome and you'll love it.

      Wise--you have to leap into the right places, eh?

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  10. I'm a fairly private person, so I don't really talk much about myself even when I am talking about myself.

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  11. I hope so. No online line so much because things are so easily misconstrued.

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    1. It's true. Writing can often be taken the wrong way. It's difficult to make sure your tone reflects exactly how you mean each line.

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  12. Aww, thank you so much! I'm blushing. I'm happy you're enjoying the Collection. And I completely agree with you about children. Their hearts are open and honest, and I love it! I'm usually guarded with adults, but I get along very well with children. My small group of adult friends have great heart and I admire them so much for it.

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    1. Yeah, that's why I surround myself with kids--real conversation. ;)

      (And you are totally worthy of the compliment. Awesome!)

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  13. It's hard to share things from the heart. It makes us vulnerable, and sometimes the possibility of being hurt is just as bad as getting hurt. It's true that we care more about what comes from the heart. It's a hard balance to find.

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  14. It's difficult to open up too much online, though a few things leak out here and there.

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  15. My main character has a trunk that she refuses to unpack. Talk about hiding stuff (metaphorically) in the trunk! That's how I am. Some of that stuff in the trunk won't ever get unpacked. But I might share some of it with good friends.

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    1. LOL! You've got a trunk, eh? I've got a journal. (Or fifty.) ;)

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  16. Very nice post. The book's cover is beautiful.

    I found this quote in a magazine...doesn't give credit to anyone, it was written on an ad in the AARP magazine.

    It is very appropriate for this post:

    "Play the cards you are dealt, but choose who is at the table." I really like that statement.

    THANKS for sharing, and you have a beautiful blog. Going to follow.

    Elizabeth
    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog

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  17. "I realized that 95% of what we allow other people to see about ourselves is fluff. It's the safe exterior shell. It's a socially acceptable persona. We build those facades to keep from getting hurt based on past experiences. It can be scary to expose those precious parts of yourself, and it really takes focused effort to peel back that shell and write from your core."

    Well said. You have perfectly articulated what I've been thinking for years. This may be the main reason why writers are so sensitive about their work ("Don't criticize the way I think!") A good book, IMO, is the one that makes you think (even if you don't agree with the author) instead simply entertaining you with "fluff".

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    1. So true. We love our writing like we love ourselves.

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  18. Kids are definitely givers aren't they?

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  19. I only share the real me with those that are closest to me. I find the rest just don't really care. At least most of the time.

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    1. Too many other things to worry about, eh? Trust has to be earned.

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  20. I'm not big on opening my heart. The closest I get is with my writing. I find it's the nicest way to share.

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  21. I've always shared my heart... I can't live any other way. Even though it's been hurt, many times, this is how life is for me...

    Congrats Christine!

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    1. You are a great example of that, Michael.

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  22. "Ya gotta have heart..." (Now that I know you're a Broadway geek...)

    This actually brings to mind another song, Billy Joel's "And So It Goes." It's all about taking the risk of which you speak. It is not something I do easily but I do know a few people who are worth that risk. I build my life around them.

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  23. What a nice review and sentiment. I'm sure it touched Christine's heart.

    But, after all we folks go through in life, if we told all at the get go, most would run screaming from fear, shock or loathing - for some reason or other! :) Writer’s Mark

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    1. Unless everyone was that way. ;) There's definitely reason to be cautious, but we have to be real at the same time, right?

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  24. I feel like maybe I share my heart a little too freely. But I don't know how to be any other way.

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  25. Christine's 13th Floor series is fantastic! You're so right about it having a lot of heart...

    As for me, I tend to hold a lot of stuff in. I'm usually judged the few times I don't, and doing that just comes naturally, since I've always been more on the shy and reserved side...

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    1. You, shy? I never would have guessed. ;)

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  26. My husband has often cautioned me about opening up too much and sharing things I shouldn't. Yet, I think I'm still only sharing "stories" about myself. I'm not sure if I'm sharing the deepest part of my heart. That may still be under lock and key.

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    1. It fun to occasionally open that lock and have a look-see, eh?

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  27. Kids naturally open up and share their hearts. It's a shame that bad experiences in life cause people to be more protective.

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    1. I know. Why can't we all be like kids--in that way, at least.

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  28. You've hit the nail on the head--heart & emotion rule, and help the reader connect. I feel like I've gotten better and better at it.

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    1. It's one of those things you're constantly improving, right?

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  29. Yup - in my writing, anyway. Otherwise only with a very select group of people. But in my writing, heart is central. It's my favorite kind of writing to read, too, no matter the genre.

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  30. I wouldn't call it gooey, but what you get on my blog and around the Internet is the real me.

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    1. What, a really nice, super friendly, incredibly fast-reading, awesome guy? ;)

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  31. Yes. Yes I am because I wear it on my sleeve most of the time but then I always feel vulnerable when I do. Or worry that I've given away too much and will get hurt.

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    1. I love how honest you are on your blog. Very refreshing. =)

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Hit me with your cheese!