Living in the Novel

I’m fairly new at this whole writing thing, but one thing I’ve learned is this – –


In order to write compelling fiction, I have to live in the novel.


I know that sounds crazy, perhaps even a bit existential, but I’m not nuts or going off the deep end philosophically. Simply put, I write better when I can immerse myself in a story, and that means spending hours a day with the characters, thinking of their motivations, possible plot outcomes, how they would react, etc. – basically living in the world of the novel for a few months.


I’ve tried to write without doing this, and the results have been dismal. I tried to have a scheduled writing time and only think about the story and the characters during those designated hours, but I’ve learned that, for me, I can’t just turn the writing faucet on and off like that and produce a story that anyone would care to read. I mean, if I can just turn it on and turn it off, then that means that a future reader will be able to snap the book shut without a second thought, and I want readers to be addicted to my books until the very last page.


Perhaps if writers want readers to be immersed in their book, then writers must first immerse themselves in the world of the book.


So, if you see me driving down the road carrying on a conversation and there’s no one else in the car, or if you see me standing in the middle of the aisle in the grocery store staring off into space, then you’ll know that I’m talking to my fictional friends or mentally composing a scene. So that’s my excuse. I’m not crazy, I promise!


Truth in My Fiction

You may have heard it said that you should be careful around a writer, because they just might make you a character in their book well . . .

In my young adult book, Cool Springs Girls, the main character Sarah Grace has a friend whose mom is sick. When Sarah Grace’s mom, Lisa, finds out about it, she calls a lady at her church named Michele Thomson who arranges for meals to be brought to Sarah Grace’s friend’s family.

So, here’s the truth in my fiction – Michele Thomson is an actual person. We go to church together, and she leads a meals ministry that takes meals to families that are going through difficult times. Michelle and her team take meals to ladies who have just had a baby and to people who have recently had surgery or sickness or other issues.


Michele – you are a hero in my book! (Literally and metaphorically)

When I asked Michele why she has worked so hard in this ministry for so many years, she said, “I just don’t want anyone to feel like no one cares. I want them to know that the people in the church care about them and want to help them.”

I love it. Helping people who are hurting any way we can – I think that is exactly what Jesus wants us to do, don’t you?