By Kariss Lynch
Four funerals in six weeks. Six weeks of grieving and celebrating and laughing and crying. Six weeks of wrestling with the Lord and wondering why. Six weeks without writing, because how do you write when you can’t iron out the journey or the answers to the journey in your own head? When you only have the emotional energy for the people you are sitting next to, hand in hand? Sometimes emotions feel short even for that.
Writing requires all of me. I’m picking up the pen again after weeks away. I’m rediscovering this story and these characters. I realized that what I began a few months ago, I have now experienced in my own life or in the lives of those around me in a concentrated dose – loss, grief, joy, the celebration of a person’s story.
I cringe as I realize that what I feel will make this character more real, his journey weightier, his victory sweeter, because I am walking a small pathway to that end myself. But I don’t want to go there. It means dealing with my own thoughts and feelings – all the ugly, beautiful, imperfect, messy, redeemed parts.
It’s real, raw, and authentic. The truth is…my reader has felt all these things, too, and they need to know they aren’t alone. They need to know when they pick up my books that they are going to get something authentic, an adventure, a journey that ends in hope. For the believer in Christ, that’s where our journey always ends, right?
I can’t be afraid to dig deep and write authentically. You can’t either. Our readers resonate with what they’ve experienced, what their loved ones have experienced. I fight against the mess, but our messes often make our character shine that much brighter. I want the victory, the love story, the adventure to ring truer because I braved my own wonderings to make the character real.
I’m often thrown out of stories when a character experiences too much too fast and too unrealistically. I can’t believe them, can’t track with them, and usually put the book down. We never arrive at a dark moment without a journey, never express a strong emotion without a reason, never fall in love without a little wooing. Your character can’t either.
Write raw. Write real. Write all the breathings of your heart – the tears and the laughter. Lead your character to the dark moment and then to victory. Your reader will follow and just maybe experience a little victory of their own. Fiction is a lot like life when we write courageously. Our reader feels known, cared for, and hopefully gains a little courage of their own in the process. That’s how that mess you are walking through is for your good and the good of those around you and ultimately for His glory.
Kariss Lynch writes contemporary romance about characters with big dreams, adventurous hearts, and enduring hope. Surrendered, the final book in her Heart of a Warrior series, released in December 2015. In her free time, she hangs out with her family and friends, explores the great outdoors, and tries not to plot five stories at once. Connect with her at karisslynch.com.