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The Passion in Our Stories

By Margaret Daley

Why should you be passionate about what you write? People tell you when you start writing you need to write about what you know–or if not you’d better do a lot of research to familiarize yourself with the subject. I agree, but I would take it a step further. You need to be passionate about what you write. If you want your readers to care, you need to care–enough to convey that to your readers.

That sounds simple, but it isn’t always that way. But when you are passionate about your characters and plot, it comes across in your story. It helps you to keep focused on what you want to write. It’s a goal and motivation all wrapped up in one. What do I mean? When I was writing my series called A Town Called Hope (His Holiday Family, Love Inspired, December 2011), I wanted to pay tribute to the men and women who help others recover from a disaster–in this case a hurricane. I grew up as a teenager in Biloxi, Mississippi which has been hit with several major hurricanes since the time I lived there. I’ve seen my hometown go through a lot over the years. I’ve seen neighbors helping neighbors, people work long hours to rebuild their town, making sacrifices for others. After Katrina I began toying with an idea which I finally wrote in my new series. I wanted to honor towns like Biloxi for fighting to rebuild–not to let the hurricane win. This is what drove my stories. It gave me focus when coming up with my characters and plot. It also gave me the theme for my series: how out of tragedy comes hope.

In another story I’ve written coming out in March from Abingdon (Saving Hope), the story is about trying to stop child trafficking. This subject is dear to my heart. When I did my research, I became even more focused on wanting to convey the danger to young teens (some children) of being trapped in a situation they can’t get out of. This helped me keep my story centered around what I was passionate about, protecting our young people.

So when you are thinking about your next book, consider some of these things:
1. What do you care about–you get passionate about?
2. How can you take that and weave it into a story that you are excited about?
3. Can I condense my passion down into a single sentence that will drive my story, keep me focused?
4. How can I craft characters who are as passionate as I am?
5. How can I take that passion about the subject and develop a plot to match it?

Margaret Daley is an award winning, multi-published author in the romance genre. One of her romantic suspense books, Hearts on the Line, won the ACFW Carol Award (formerly Book Of The Year). She currently writes inspirational romance and romantic suspense books for Love Inspired, romantic suspense for Abingdon Press, and historical romance for Summerside Press. She has sold 75 books to date.

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3 Responses to The Passion in Our Stories

  1. Margaret has certainly practiced what she just wrote in the above article.
    Her books are full of the passion she writes about.
    Margaret is a tremendous role model for ALL writers – fiction/non-fiction alike.
    Congratulations to a multi-published under multi-publisher author. What a great example of what CAN happen when one works as diligently as she does.
    I’m very impressed with the way she can write across numerous genres as well.
    GOOD JOB, Margaret!

    Our ACFW President is one act to follow!
    JOY

  2. Rick Barry says:

    This reminds me of a panel discussion I heard at a writers conference. In response to a question from the audience (“What kind of stories would you like us to write for you?), an editor said, “I can’t tell you what to write about. If I do, you will woodenly bang out a story without any passion to it. I want you to write the best story you can about things YOU care about.” That’s still great advice.

  3. Erin Unger says:

    I agree! To feel a story, on an emotional level, is one of the most important ingredients to reaching people at their core. Our passion for writing must be felt by our readers.