In a recent discussion on ACFW’s Women’s Fiction loop, author Sharon A. Lavy said, “I really care about the relationships between people of all kinds. Parents and children, siblings, friends. I really have a passion that women need other women. So every story I write includes the close friendship of women. No matter what else is going on in the story.”
Whatever an author is passionate about shows up in their work and often fills the characters with life and the strength of their convictions. Sometimes the passion is just there, quiet and subtle, like Sharon including close friendships in all of her works; sometimes it whacks you across the face with a wet towel, as in stories written by authors on a soap box (not recommended, by the way). But the author’s passion can make the difference between ho-hum characters and memorable people who live in the pages of our books.
Specificity is important when writing about our passions. Although Sharon “really cares about relationships” in general, she’s passionate about the idea that “women need other women.” What’s implied in her statement is that along with her husband, her children, her family, a woman needs female friends. As a reader and a woman, I can relate to that. I need my friends. I need the opportunity to be just a woman–not a wife, daughter, mother, or any other tag that goes along with being female, but just a woman associating with other women who understand me.
My first novel, Give the Lady a Ride, is a romance, and I can say that I’m passionate about love–who isn’t? But even with this, it helps to be specific. Love between a man and a woman is the point of romance, so specifics could include first love, renewed love, growing love, 50th-anniversary love. Women’s fiction often deals with other kinds of love–between sisters, mother and daughter, friends, any other relationship. If you’re passionate about love, tell me: What relationship is important to you? What aspect appeals to you? What is it about love that pumps your blood? Be specific.
Patricia Talbert, my main character in Give the Lady a Ride, reflects my one-time conviction that I’d never get married again. Tried it. Hated it. Never wanted to do it again. I held on to that for the entire ten years between my first husband and my second. God gave me a second chance at love, and now I’m passionate about the idea of second chances–which is also reflected in Ride.
My current novel, an unpublished women’s fiction story, The Cat Lady’s Secret, reflects my passion too, but from a different angle. Instead of God granting a second chance, it’s granted by one person to another. Inherent in this are the concept of forgiveness and the idea that fights aren’t fatal to a relationship, that misunderstandings can be overcome. Because of my life experiences, it took me a long time to learn this. Now I consider it the most valuable lesson God ever taught me, and I want others to understand it too.
I could go on through my current WIPs and show how my passion–second chances at love–is illustrated time after time, but suffice it to say, it’s there, “no matter what else is going on in the story.”
What’s at your core? What are you passionate about? What ideals do you cling to? How are they reflected in your work?
Sharon A. Lavy is author of Dreaming of a Father’s Love, available on Amazon.com.
Nice. I always like to hear authors reveal the “scarlet thread” in their works, since it’s not always obvious to readers – or readers have their own ideas about it. I would have to say forgiveness and redemption are probably my biggies. They keep showing up in everything I write.
I’ve read the bulk of your work and you left out “self-condemnation.” Each of your characters carries the burden of a guilt they don’t necessarily deserve. Hmmm–makes me wonder. What does that say about you, chickadee? 😉
Hah. You know I’ve been thinking about that lately. I dunno *what* it says about me. Doesn’t resonate on a surface level. But guilt is definitely a running theme in my stories. Hard to explore themes of forgiveness without guilty characters, right?
Yep, yep, ya gotta point there. 🙂
My passion are kids. Kids who are hurting, broken, lost. Kids who lack good parents. Kids without God. Why? Because that’s what I had growing up and I grew up a royal mess. God took care of all of that, but not before my kids were a mess due to my lack of God instruction in my life.
God took the dysfunctional mess that was my family and made a family with hearts for God. Godly children influencing other children. Kids who still make mistakes but who move forward in the love of God.
Get that passion and mix it with the gifts God gave – writing and teaching – and I’m living my passion! I get to write the curriculum for the 6th graders at my church, and get the additional blessing of teaching them! I so love my kids!
I am also blessed to be able to share what God has taught me about parenting and share it with others at kids-faith.com. My heart so breaks for this generation of children, and parents do not realize they have the power right in their own homes to change it all with God’s help.
And the healing He so graciously blessed me with? I get to write about that one at Katsmusings.com.
Some day, I will write a couple of books about it all. Right, Linda? 😉
So, specifically, your passion is kids who’ve been hurt by the very people who are supposed to love and protect them. The fact that you’ve lived this would give you the unique ability to make your characters rise up from the page and come to life. So. When are you going to write their story???
Uhh… hem… haw… this would involve time, right?
Yep, ‘fraid so.
My passion is writing. For more years than I’d like to mention I’ve tried to write a contemporary romance novel with a paranormal element running through the storyline, but to no avail. Then someone suggested I write for a much younger audience — and I did, It took almost a year with several bouts of writer’s block, re-reads and re-writes. I had my manuscript edited and on December 20, 2012, My passion became a reality, and I self-published my debut novel–a YA Paranormal/Time Travel/First Kiss romance novel, entitled “I Kissed a Ghost” http://www.amazon.com/Kissed-Ghost-Robin-Leigh-Morgan/dp/1480030031
I one excellent review and another which gives contradicting signals [swell for a 13th year old, but apparently rated 1 star for an adult reading it.]
Still waiting for the sales of my book to start so I can create a Kindle edition.
Anyway, with this accomplishment under my belt I’ve returned to that still untitled manuscript with a new vigor and can now see some real headway being made.
One thing I’ve learned from all this is = If you have a passion for anything, NEVER GIVE UP …NEVER GIVE UP, for your passion will one day become a REALITY
That’s true, Robin. Not exactly what I wrote about, but true indeed.