How You Can Use Life’s Connections to Inspire Your Writing

WhereHeartsMeet_w11796_300My guest today is LoRee Peery. LoRee shares an example of how she received inspiration and employed it in writing Where Hearts Meet. LoRee is generously offering a PDF giveaway of Where Hearts Meet to one of this week’s commenters (9/17 – 9/23/2015). Be sure to learn more about LoRee and Where Hearts Meet following her post.

Also, note that Alzheimer’s Day is September 21.

 

LoRee: My latest release, Where Hearts Meet, is a romance. Deena Shores and Simon Hart meet at a memory care facility where Deena works and Simon’s mother is a resident.

image by geralt
image by geralt

A woman I’ll call Hattie is currently in a similar facility not far from where I live. Hattie touched my life and inspired me to write the mother of my hero.

Here are the basics of what I pulled from knowing Hattie for use in my story:

♥   Observing this woman showed me how to create Rose Hart’s character.

The connection with Hattie was the catalyst in giving me the idea of how to bring my hero and heroine together.

♥   What struck me most when I first met her, was the way Jesus shined in Hattie’s smile and through her eyes. She may have memory loss, but she’s never forsaken Jesus’ name.

That was the main characteristic I wanted to put in my story. The fictitious Rose Hart has Hattie’s heart for Jesus.

♥  During the writing of the story, I caught a notice for the grand opening of an Alzheimer’s care center.

I attended the open house to make sure neither the way I presented the care of fictitious residents, nor my setting, would dishonor dementia patients in any way. As I toured the facility, the Lord assured me He wanted me to write this story.

Suggestions

My suggestions for writers are to allow your writing to flow from your experiences. I hope you will glean a point or two from my experience to use in your writing.

  • Always keep your mind open to the details in everyday and unique events. If something inspires you, jot down and file the details.
  • Pay attention to the traits and actions of the people you encounter. Record their mannerisms to use later in characters.
  • If you can, go to the places or similar locals of the settings in your story. Take good notes that will enrich your scenes and make readers feel like they’re taking part along with the characters.
  • Be alert to, and record, applicable Bible verses for use in your story. Whether you quote them in the story or not, they will help guide your plot and characterizations.

♥  Go forth fellow writers  ♥   

  • Pray for acute attention to enable future use of your observations.
  • Take advantage of how life makes you feel.
  • Write it down, and use it at the right time.

Suggestions for how to allow your writing to flow from your experiences. Click to tweet.

How have you used a life experience to enrich your story?

Thank you, Zoe, for allowing me to be your guest.

Zoe here: Don’t forget to comment for a chance to receive a PDF of Where Hearts Meet.

First choiceLoRee Peery is a Christian romance author who writes to feel alive, as a way of contributing, and to pass forward the hope of rescue from sin. She writes of redeeming grace with a sense of place. LoRee clings to I John 5:4 and prays her family sees that faith. She has authored the Frivolities Series and other e-books. Her desire for readers, the same as for her characters, is to discover where they fit in this life journey to best work out the Lord’s life plan. She is who she is by the grace of God.

Connect with LoRee through these links: 

www.loreepeery.com 

https://twitter.com/LoreePeery 

https://www.facebook.com/LoReePeery

 

WhereHeartsMeet_w11796_300Are obedience and trust in God enough to keep Deena and Simon from chasing memories?

Shattered by the loss of her parents, Deena pours her love into her patients at an assisted living facility. When the son of one her charges starts showing up to spend time with his mother, Deena’s wary heart is warmed by his attention to his mother…and to her. Simon is plagued by his ex-wife’s disappearance years before. When he meets Deena, who closely resembles the woman, he fears his attraction is based only on Deena’s looks. But she exhibits a warmth his ex-wife never had. Dare he risk his once broken heart? As two lonely souls pursue a tentative, budding love, secrets and lies come forward to tear them apart. Can Simon and Deena overcome loss and allow their hearts to mend?

3 Steps to Find a Romantic Idea for Your Creative Activity

“Opposites attract. If two people just alike get married, one of you is unnecessary.” —Larry Burkett

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You’re preparing a talk to a women’s group. Or writing a romantic scene. Or composing a song. Where will you find a romantic idea to entice your female audiences?

Here are 3 Steps to come up with a romantic idea for your creative work.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Step 1. Write What You Know

Who do you know better than your spouse? You don’t have to go back to those budding-romance days. Look at why you love your spouse now.

Step 2. Use Opposites Attract

People love stories about how men differ from women. It’s romantic. So, list ways you’re different from your spouse. When you get about fifty…just kidding…ten, stop. Here’s mine:

1. He enjoys people. I’ve considered building a monument to the person who invented email.

2. He is a man of few words. That’s because I hog all the rest.

3. He finally comments on what I said five minutes ago. I’ve already forgotten what I said and moved on to my next idea.

4. He’s always right. I supply him with numerous opportunities, but I’ve reserved a billboard for the glorious day he’s WRONG.

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5. He analyzes how to put gutters on our house. I analyze everything else.

6. He takes hot showers so long I can’t find my way out of the bathroom. To save on electrical costs, I freshen up in his steam wondering why my hair doesn’t hold a curl.

7. He leaves a mushy card on my favorite chair on Valentine’s Day. When I find it, I race upstairs, cut out two harts, glue them together, and slap a doily on it, tea stain down, and finish it off with, “I love you.”

8. He laughs at my humor. I force weak smiles while he over-explains the way things work.

9. He does the grocery shopping, if I make the list. I question why he didn’t know “romaine in a bag” meant the easy pre-cut version and not a humongous stalk of romaine that barely fits in the vegetable drawer and happens to be sold in a bag.

10. He never tells embarrassing stories on me. I use this godly man as fodder for my social media posts.

Step 3. Recall a story.

Image courtesy of xedos4 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of xedos4 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For each difference, recall a story that proves you’re different in that area.

Here’s mine for number 5:

At our last house, John stood in the backyard, staring up at the roof for a lo-o-o-ng time. I couldn’t fathom what the man was doing. I asked. The expert who configures the gutters for houses was coming the next day. Our roof had funky levels. John wanted to figure it out before the EXPERT came. Do you know what? When the EXPERT showed John his configuration, John suggested his own and the expert agreed it was better!

Now you see why I listed number 4. But I have to admit I my heart tingled that my man bested the gutter expert.

From this story, I can use a similar situation for my fictional hero. Because I know my feelings from my scoffing in the beginning to my tingles at the end, I can give my heroine those feelings.

What’s a story you could use for a creative activity?

Brainstorming: Make Your Worst Idea the Most Unique Solution

“What is art but a way of seeing.” — Thomas Berger

Image courtesy of Sujin Jetkasettakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Sujin Jetkasettakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We know most of the standard suggestions for brainstorming, such as no analyzing, no judging, and no discussion. But if we look closely at our brainstorming exercise we may notice the ideas often fall into an invisible box. We’re bound tightly by the question we’re trying to answer and unconsciously discard words.

That’s good to an extent, but let’s see what delightful idea might arise if we list all the words that pop into our heads. Then consider the one we rank lowest. I’ll show this by giving an example for writing a romantic short story. Couple holding hands.

The question: What could the hero and heroine be at odds over that is not based on a misunderstanding.

Step 1. Brainstorm twelve or so ideas. Follow the standard rules, but if a word comes into your head and it seems like a random word, write it down.

Step 2. List the ideas, starting with the ones you think would work best to the worst.

Here’s my twelve for the main source of conflict between the hero and heroine:

  1. The use of a piece of land
  2. One is going to take over the other’s business
  3. A competition in which they’re on opposite teams

    A Competition
    A Competition
  4. They both want to buy the same exotic item for their art stores
  5. An inheritance
  6. They’re in different armed services
  7. Child rearing methods
  8. Hunting for sport
  9. Religion
  10. Capital punishment
  11. Teeth care
  12. Eggs
Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Notice 1 through 5 are common ideas that have worked. Idea 6 could work well, but 7 through 10 are so controversial they may not do well in a romance. Ideas 11 and 12 are the two that popped into my head that I would never have bothered to write down in past brainstorming sessions. Idea 12 is outside the invisible box. Ridiculous.

Step 3. But let’s go with the worst idea. Eggs.

Step 4. Now, forget the question and brainstorm what ever comes to mind about eggs.

???????????

  1. Egghead
  2. Faberge eggs
  3. Easter eggs
  4. Egg inspections
  5. Rare bird eggs
  6. Egging (as in egging a house)
  7. Human eggs
  8. Brown vs. White eggs
  9. Eggs and cholesterol
  10. Fish eggs
  11. Egg shape

I could come up with some story conflicts for several of the ideas, and most would’ve been unique conflicts. But what intrigued me involved a female author writing military thrillers and the man assigned to design the cover of her book.

The heroine wants to set the title inside an egg shape, because the main character is Major Eggleston. The hero insists the title should be set in an explosive star shape, a rectangle, or nothing. She argues the significant romantic element in the story suggests many women would enjoy the book. The cover needs to be softened. He counters she should stick to her primary audience: men who like military thrillers.

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I can see the conflict ramping up when he pulls rank because the book contract states the publisher will determine the cover. She changes tactics, pretending to be romantically interested in him. He doesn’t fall for her role-play, but he realizes he’s falling for her. And on it goes.

That was fun. Try it.

What low-ranking idea did you come up with while brainstorming, and how could you use it?