Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Story Within A Story Within Another Story by Gail Gaymer Martin

Gail Gaymer Martin
Deep grief is a part of life, reflecting the losses we’ve experience: the loss of a friend, a job, the death of a loved one, or a divorce. In marriage we make an oath “for better or worse,” but sometimes the words crumble and we find ourselves alone. I am a divorced woman who didn’t want to be one. My promise to God “until death do us part” shattered. I sank into the doldrums of loneliness and shame, feeling duped and stupid not suspecting my husband’s affair. At night I turned to the Lord for help. I asked for a sign that I would be okay, that life would be bright and I would feel whole again. Without a sign, I adjusted, moved on, grew as a single woman, made new female friends and then one day, I met my soulmate and knew the Lord had provided the answer to my earlier prayer. We’ve been married twenty-eight years–the best years of my life.

As authors, awareness comes each time we begin a novel. We bring to the story a reflection of ourselves. This doesn't mean a memoir or autobiography. It's far more subtle than that. Our attitudes, values and beliefs come from who we are, our past experiences, family, friends, lifestyle, education, and values. Our writing voice, our characterization and development of plot, though very different from our personal lives, still echoes exaggerated experiences, a merging of characterization from people we know and from ourselves, and those heart things we value.

Sometimes I see blatant examples of me in novels, not always flattering but a bit of who I am. Sometimes I see who I would like to be or who I'm glad I'm not. Questions about life, doubts, hurts, experiences or faith examples I've witnessed through family and friends become woven into plots. News stories, disasters, and reflections from non-fiction reading can inch their way into the storyline.

Our imagination takes these pieces of our lives and weaves them into a creative work so subtle sometimes we don't realize it, but think about it. If we had not experienced that fear or longing, if we had never been in an accident, if we'd never loved a dog, if we'd never been abandoned by someone we loved, our story could be different. The emotion would not be as true nor the need to tell the story.

So within each piece of fiction our storyline adds a smattering of our personal story within it. Most of us realize this, but have you also considered an extension of this idea. What makes our stories even more unique to each reader is that they bring their own story into our fiction which houses our personal story too. They are touched by incidents that remind them of their own fears, their own wants and needs, their own abandonment, their own disaster, and their own family dysfunction.  

As you write, dig deep to discover those embedded memories that you avoid, those hurtful experiences that seem insignificant now, those conflicts that took you down when you were trying to find yourself, the flaws you face, the family attitudes that affected your life, and the things you value most. Allow them to surface so that you're story can be real and healing to readers also scarred by the past, readers who feel alone and hopeless. Digging deep brings truth to light and truth can set you free.

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About the Author
Multi-award-winning novelist, Gail Gaymer Martin is the author of contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction with 52 contracted novels and over 3-1/2 million books in print. Her novels have received several national awards, including: the ACFW Carol Award and RT Reviewer’s Choice Award. CBS local news listed Gail as one of the four best writers in the Detroit area. Gail is the author of Writer Digest’s Writing the Christian Romance. She is a cofounder of American Christian Fiction Writers and serves on their Executive Board. Gail is a member of Advanced Speakers and Writers (ACFW) as well as Christian Authors Network (CAN) and is a keynote speaker at churches, civic and business organizations and is a workshop presenter at conferences across the U.S. Gail lives in Michigan with her husband.. Visit her at:

Website at www.gailgaymermartin.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gail.g.martin.3
Twitter: http://twitter.com/GailGMartin
GoodReads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/83354.Gail_Gaymer_Martin

The Firefighter's New Family
Love Inspired - January release in stores now
This is Book #2 in the Sisters series
The Firefighter's New Family
by Gail Gaymer Martin

(Book #1 Her Valentine Hero

A tornado may have left Ashley Kern injured beneath a fallen tree, but it’s her rescuer who plays havoc with her emotions. Firefighter Devon Murphy is everything the single mom could wish for in a husband: handsome, a doting father and ready to join his family to hers. But how can the pretty war widow make a life once more with a man whose career is full of danger? Devon has fought some pretty big battles in his life, but can he help Ashley conquer her fears and show her the safest place of all is in his arms?


  1. Like you, Gail, I unwillingly trudged down that lonely, painful divorce road until eventually finding my soulmate. It's tough to dredge up those tough times, but you're so right, Gail. Thanks for baring your heart.

  2. Oh, Dora! I'm so sorry you had to have that heartache. Hubby had wounds from his divorce that took years to heal. I know your and Gail's words bless so many. Thanks for "opening that vein" for your readers.

  3. Gail, thanks for sharing part of your personal story. I agree with you! I often see parts of myself in my stories. My characters take on the interests, joys, struggles, and heartbreaks I've experienced. I haven't been able to venture into some areas yet, but I believe the more we're willing to open ourselves up, the more we're be able to engage and touch our readers.

  4. Thanks for your comments - and yes, our story goes on the page in various ways, but think of how it also is influenced by the stories of our readers. They read two stories within one -- ours and theirs -- and who knows how God uses us then. He is amazing.

  5. Well said, Gail, and very heart-touching at this moment. My son has just gone through a divorce, there is my seven year old grandbaby angel boy involved. So I pray the Lord blesses the new year with GOOD news for a change. I do see how our personal lives weave into the characters we create. Enjoyed the post and Dora above all will know how I look forward to a firefighter story! (We married them LOL.)

    A blessed new year to all, especially my Seriously Write friends who I appreciate more than I can ever say.

  6. Thanks, Tanya and all of you who commented. Life sometimes gives us trials but they are used to make us stronger and wiser. In the process as writers, we can share those messages with our readers who can also benefit and apply these situations to their lives. I enjoyed sharing my story with this group.


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