Using Words to Portray Accurately

I’ve written stories my entire life. I still do, but now I don’t do it to simply please myself, or with the faraway dreams of “someday I will become a famous author”, but with the hope that someone, somewhere, will be delighted or encouraged by what I write. I write to be real and raw. I write to put a smile on someone’s face, or to comfort others in pain. I write to point others to the Hope in this dark world. I write to bring to life stories and characters that remain in my mind until, by writing, I set them free and introduce them to others.

I’m currently trying to write a work of fiction. I know I have a long way to go as far as attaining skill at this particular field of writing, but my hope is that the more I practice at writing, the more I observe and take in the world around me, the more I reach into the depths of my mind and retrieve memories and experiences to fit into my stories… I’ll hopefully improve slowly but surely.

How does one write fiction that deals with the harder things in life—incorporating within the story my own personal experiences of depression, fears and doubts?

How do I depict these real situations accurately, as well as the emotions and feelings that result?

And how do I do this while avoiding making the main character seem like a crybaby instead of, as I intend, a strong person who is dealing with a lot?

How do I write about the realities of dealing with loss or pain, or feeling like I don’t have the strength to live through another day, or struggling with doubting everything I have known—in a way that would cause the reader to feel along with the main character, or be able to relate… and not scoff and go, “psshh, that’s not very realistic”?

How do I write about hard things, without making them the focus of the book, thus discouraging the reader—how do I provide a balance of pain and joy?

…These are skills that I am seeking to learn as I practice writing.

This story I am working on is very loosely based on some of the things that I have been through, and how in the end, they turned out for good—so much beauty and goodness came about as a result of these difficult trials. However, before the beauty there was much pain, and I want to capture the depths of that season, how I felt, my struggles with not knowing why things were going the way they were… while knowing still that whatever happens, God is still good. As I look over what I have written, I hope that others see the story as I see see it when I read it—that others would not just pass the character off as overly emotional, but that they would see what the character is going through, and feel along with her. I hope to tell the story as realistically as possible.

In the story, Willow Dellinger is a sophomore in college. She could be doing better in school if she didn’t have to carry these burdens—the recent death of a sister, depression, health concerns, and hard struggles with unbelief. These things make life hard for her to live, and make her studies harder to accomplish… stressful events are draining. But things get better over time. Through the encouragement of friends, through experience, and learning the art of self-forgetfulness, she learns that even in the darkest days there is always a reason to take heart, a reason to be thankful, a reason to live.

I will post parts of the story on my blog later!

—Maddie

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