Thank you, Virginia Smith for the following contribution to our blog:
Stories from the Heart By Virginia Smith
I believe the stories that come alive in our minds are conceived deep inside the author’s heart. We love characters who resonate with us, with whom we feel an affinity. To create a character that will touch a reader’s heart, an author must first feel that affinity. We do that by knitting pieces of ourselves into the fabric of the character’s life.
When I begin writing a new story, I start with the main character. Oftentimes that is the heroine. Who is she, I ask myself? What has she been through in her life? Was her heart broken in the past, as mine was? Is she lonely, as I have been at times? Or is she perfectly happy being alone, as I have also been? I find a bond with her, and then I expand on that bond to place her in the story. In other words, she grows in my heart, and then when I love her, I introduce her to readers and hope they will love her too.
The process of identifying with a character is usually painful, or at least uncomfortable. Who wants to read a book where everyone is happy from the first page to the last? Though we may desire perpetual happiness in our own lives, stories don’t work that way. A story where nothing bad happens is boring. So authors put their characters through some really tough situations. We make them suffer for the sake of the story, knowing their struggles will make them stronger in the end. And because those characters are children of our heart, we feel their pain.
In my upcoming book Prime Suspect, I fell in love with the hero, Caleb. I hated causing him pain, and wept with him when I struck at the thing he valued most – his faith. Because it was my faith too. But when Caleb steps into his ‘happily ever after,’ my readers and I rejoice with him. We experience his pain and his joy because he lives in our hearts, as all good characters do. My heart, and yours.
VIRGINIA SMITH is the bestselling author of twenty-four novels, an illustrated children’s book, and over fifty articles and short stories. An avid reader with eclectic tastes in fiction, Ginny writes in a variety of styles, from lighthearted relationship stories to breath-snatching suspense. In 2011 her romance novel, A Daughter’s Legacy, received a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. She and her husband divide their times between their homes in Salt Lake City, Utah and Frankfort, Kentucky. Learn more about Ginny and her books at www.VirginiaSmith.org and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ginny.p.smith.