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Making Stuff Up

By Davalynn Spencer

“Just make something up,” my husband said when I told him I had a blog post to write for
ACFW.

Well, um, yeah. That’s what we do as American Christian Fiction Writers. We make stuff up.

But that stuff has to be based in reality. Plausible reality. Not things like a bull knocking out my bullfighter-son’s front teeth, and his dentist dying in a plane crash before the implants were completed.

Tragically sad, but true. Yet readers of such a scene would shake their heads, thinking, “Yeah, right.”

Hence the cliché about strange truth.

So if I can’t use jaw-jamming situations from real life, what can I use?

Things readers relate with, particularly emotions.

As authors creating fictional worlds and characters, we’re often told to go back to our old wounds and stir up their attendant discomfort. Draw from the personal when we need to write poignant, impassioned, or touchy scenes.

We’ve all suffered loss and we know what that feels like. We’ve also had to deal with bad attitudes, persistent challenges, and unrelenting stress brought on by external conflict.

And we all know (hopefully) what it feels like to come to the Lord with impossible situations.

Lately I’ve noticed a bleed-over of my spiritual life into the lives of my characters. The heroine of my historical-romance-in-progress faces unpleasant circumstances beyond her control. She senses the Lord encouraging her to trust Him and practice thanksgiving.

A contemporary protagonist in another WIP is certain she should “wait and listen.”

Both of these impressions come from my life and ongoing communications with the Lord. They have flowed right out of my heart and onto the computer screen. I pray they will continue on their journey into the hearts of readers who may need a bit of encouragement to trust God and give thanks, or wait on the Lord and listen for His leading.

Yes, as fiction writers, we make stuff up. But what a great platform we have to speak the truth in love.

The Cowboy's Bride CollectionDavalynn Spencer writes inspirational Western romance and teaches creative writing at Pueblo Community College. Her recent novella, “The Wrangler’s Woman” appeared in Barbour’s The Cowboy’s Bride, an ECPA and Publisher’s Weekly bestseller. Davalynn makes her home on Colorado’s Front Range with a Queensland heeler named Blue and two mouse detectors, Annie and Oakley. Visit her at www.davalynnspencer.com.

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