Exploring the Passion for Your Novel

ACFW Advice, Authors and writing, Characters, Friends of ACFW, tips, writing Leave a Comment

by DiAnn Mills

When I wrote The Chase, the first book in the Crime Scene: Houston series, I thought I’d never have that much passion for a story again. But I was wrong. The Survivor brought just as many tears, if not more.

But why would I want to write a story that did not slice my heart raw?


The second novel involved another solved cold case from FBI Houston files. I was drawn into the story of a nine-year-old little girl who’d endured a horrendous crime. She survived the odds and grew to be a dynamic woman. The little girl’s courage and determination led to an arrest twenty years later. How did she live with that fear all those years? I had to dig deep for memories that would assist me in writing the pain. Passion erupted like a bubbling volcano.

In writing from a solved cold case, my goal was not to exploit the victim or shock the reader with gory details, but to provide a memorable story with strong characters. My victim’s tragedy became her triumph. I looked for ways to massage facts and weave the real character’s strength into a story.

When I create a story, I live with my characters, dress myself in their lives and situations – and experience their victories, defeats, fears, and joys. My passion is to bring story to life for my readers.

Why should any author accept the challenge of writing a novel unless she’s ready to face the emotional roller-coaster? We must have our hearts scared to create stories filled with real characters who strive to achieve goals and solve problems.

If you’re wondering if you have passion for the story you’re writing, here’s a checklist:

• The characters wake you in the middle of night with pieces of dialogue and plot twists.
• Your characters are like friends.
• You have compassion for the antagonist because you know his/her backstory.
• If you miss a day writing, you feel guilty.
• You experience the same emotions as your characters.
• You consider sending your characters a birthday e-card. (Smiling here.)

We writers are more than entertainers. Our hope is to inspire readers to attempt what looks impossible and encourage them in everything they do. When readers see courage in a character, they want to experience victory in their own lives. The blessings of creating a novel are we writers become better people too. It’s a circle, and my inspiration for The Survivor is a grand example.

I love what I do. I’m committed to writing passion in every line. What about you?


Bestselling author DiAnn Mills creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and have won placements through the ACFW and Inspirational Reader’s Choice awards. DiAnn won the Christy Award in 2010 and 2011. She is a founding board member of ACFW. You can visit DiAnn on her website at www.diannmills.com, or Facebook, or Twitter.

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