So much for stating the obvious.
Several years ago, my family went hiking on a picture-perfect Colorado day. Our laughter filtered through the evergreens. Sunshine warmed our shoulders as we balanced on fallen trees spanning a mountain creek.
And then, as my husband, Rob, jumped from one boulder to the next, he slipped and broke his knee cap.
In the end, our daughters ran down the mountain to alert rescuers. Rob, with the help of two young men, splinted his leg with tree branches and hiked back down the mountain—meeting the rescue teams as they hiked up. I trailed behind and photographed the journey.
A great family story? Absolutely.
Even better? In my debut novel, Wish You Were Here, my hero, Daniel Rayner, needed a “what else can go wrong?” moment. Daniel’s an outdoorsman like my husband. And so, I borrowed from real life and had Daniel (say it with me) slip on a boulder and break his knee cap.
Write what you know, right? And while you’re at it, don’t waste the pain – yours or someone else’s.
Lest you think I only glean from my husband’s misfortune, here’s a sneak peek into my second novel, Catch a Falling Star (Howard Books May 2013.)
My hero, Griffin, is an Air Force pilot. I’d already plotted one problem for Griffin, but I wanted to add another layer of “why me, God?” to his life. I’m a novelist, it’s what I do: Wreak havoc on fictional people. I only looked as far as my reflection in the bathroom mirror to figure out how to torment poor, unsuspecting Griffin.
For the past year, I’ve ridden the daily tilt-o-whirl of vertigo. Sometimes with grace. Sometimes with tears.
Why waste the experience? Griffin got vertigo.
One thing is certain: I knew what Griffin would feel – emotionally, physically, mentally, even spiritually. When my husband read one of my scenes, he said, “I feel kinda nauseous.”
What about you? I’m sure you’ve been told not to waste the pain in your life. Have you ever used the pain to benefit your writing?
Author Bio: Beth K. Vogt is a non-fiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. She’s discovered that God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.”
Her contemporary romance novel, Wish You Were Here, debuted this month (Howard Books.) ). Beth is an established magazine writer and former editor of Connections, the leadership magazine for MOPS International. She enjoys connecting with other writers as the Skills Coach for My Book Therapy, bestselling author Susan May Warren's writing community. Learn more about her at bethvogt.com.