Sometimes in my journal I talk to myself. I give myself pep-talks when I’m down, friendly reminders of lessons learned, guidance as though from an outside party when I’m facing a difficult decision or problem.
The following is an entry I wrote back in September 2014 when I was searching for my next novel to write.
You have to know what moves you. What frightens, horrifies, delights and angers you? Put that in your story. What is the worst thing you can imagine living through? Make it happen to one of your characters.
Don’t just assemble plots that ‘work’ with high points here and conflict there. With everything arranged as it should be according to some bestseller formula. Dig deep. Find out what affects you as a person. Those are the things that will affect your readers.
When I wrote Run To Me I explored some of my deepest fears. What would it be like to lose a child? To lose my sanity? To not be believed by anyone? To not even know myself if what I thought was true actually was?
I realize the hold I have on my sanity only exists because life has been kind. What if it hadn’t been? If I’d lived what I put my characters through would I still be here? Would I have found the strength they did? The courage to sacrifice? Would I have had their resilience?
That’s what authors write to find out. And why readers read the stories they’ve written.