Monday, May 12, 2014

Writing What We Know

By Martha Rogers

We’ve all heard the advice to write what we know, but if we truly wrote about real life and what happens as we know it, some of it would be unbelievable for our readers. What makes for a great inspirational article or book on life situations doesn’t always translate well to fiction. Things happen in rapid fire succession in some families, and those events upset the lives of all involved.

In the late 1990’s both my parents were in the hospital at the same time in a different city than where I lived. Living out of town was enough of a hardship, but my parents were divorced and not on the best terms. My sister took care of them in the hospital until our dad went home. The things that happened in those five months before my dad passed away would make a reader’s head swim.

If we take writing what we know as writing from the emotions we’ve experienced as well as our own relationship with God, we draw our readers into our stories more deeply. My first published article was about my brother and how our relationship was re-established after he was convicted of sexual crimes and sent to prison. Forgiving him was difficult, but with God’s constant nudging and assurance of peace, I did forgive him. God worked on him in prison, and my brother became a Christian. He is not the same man he was thirty years ago, and he will be released next week after serving his full time.

That experience of forgiving my brother became the crux of the story for Spring Hope. My hero went through the same difficulties I had in forgiving. I poured my own emotions into his character until he had the same revelation I did.

When we can transfer our own spiritual experiences into our characters and create a story to which our readers can relate, we can touch their lives and hearts. In doing so, perhaps they will draw closer to our Lord.

 Martha Rogers is a free-lance writer and was named Writer of the Year at the Texas Christian Writers Conference in 2009 and writes a weekly devotional for ACFW. Martha and her husband Rex live in Houston where they enjoy spending time with their grandchildren.  A former English and Home Economics teacher, Martha loves to cook and experimenting with recipes and loves scrapbooking when she has time. She has written two series, Winds Across the Prairie and Seasons of the Heart as well as several other novels and novellas. Love Stays True, the first book in her new series, The Homeward Journey, released in May, 2013 and book 2, Love Finds Faith, in February 2014

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