Born Valentine’s Day on a naval base, Cheryl Wyatt writes military and rescue romance. Her Steeple Hill debuts earned RT Top Picks plus #1 and #4 on eHarlequin’s Top 10 Most-Blogged-About-Books, lists including NYT Bestsellers. She is a Reviewers Choice Award Nominee.
The Most Requested Writing Article in History
Well, not mine, but I hope that subject line gripped your attention. Pondering what to write about today, I researched the most requested writing article. Wanna know what it was?
Coming up with fresh content.
Interestingly, this was true for non-fiction writing as well as fiction writing and just about any type of writing you can think of. People want fresh content and new ideas or at least old ideas stated in a fresh, new way. The most commonly searched topic for writers perusing information sites was how to come up with fresh content and new ideas.
There were too few articles on the subject to meet the request demand so I’ll share how I come up with fresh content. I hope other authors will chime in too.
Fortunately I glimpse stories in almost everything I see or hear. I’m a habitual watcher and stealthy eavesdropper. My friends watch what they say because it could end up in a book. LOL! I crafted a shirt years ago that says, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you in the craft of fiction.”
I saw a bulky, macho police officer with a cart full of pink and purple stuffed bunnies and ducks in a store last Easter. The sight stopped me because the image was so surreal and the contrast between that officer of authority and the soft, fluffy pastel toys was so stark that I couldn’t help but wonder where he was taking the toys. School children? Orphanage? Immediately a story idea began to form.
Another day I saw a handsome young cowboy escorting an elderly woman to a gorgeous white car. They were laughing expressively. His arm wound around hers as he assisted her over a parking bumper. I wondered where they were going and if they were related…grandmother and grandson perhaps. A story formed from that sweet image of the young man assisting the woman with southern manners and chivalry, a black Stetson, denim, cowboy boots and her in heels, an eggshell linen suit and feather hat. It was really sweet to see them laughing. A scene formed.
A few days ago I saw a macho looking man in a military uniform rushing from a cell phone store. He ran because it is very cold and windy here. He was cradling a newborn baby as close to his chest as he could. The baby was wrapped in a snow white knit cap whose bunny-tail ball bounced as he jogged. The wind peeled the corner of her thick pink blanket away and I saw her eyeing him, unblinking, with full trust and free adoration. He smiled down at her then tucked the blanket around her. To see that powerful man tenderly holding that baby and protecting her from the winter storm brought tears to my eyes. So endearing. Another idea formed.
I hear three words and a plot forms. I am not sure how to stop it and I’m so thankful that stories stalk me in droves wherever I go. Be open. Be watchful. See life around you and special moments. If something makes you stop and stare, there’s likely a story there. If something makes you laugh out loud or tear up, there’s likely a story there. If it touched you in that moment, it will touch your readers in a book. If you go through something hard, journal your heart.
Readers are most profoundly touched by stories I wrote through adversity. Don’t be afraid to write your heart because it will breathe a soul into your story and your characters will be that real to readers.
My January book, A Soldier’s Devotion-Steeple Hill, is in stores now. It was inspired by a beloved family member who went behind bars and found freedom.
Leave a comment and your e-mail address by Midnight Jan 18th to be entered for a chance to win a signed copy of A Soldier’s Devotion-Steeple Hill-on sale now. Residents of the USA only, please.
U.S. Air Force pararescue jumper Vince Reardon was headed to a lifesaving mission. Until a too-pretty lawyer crashed her fancy car into his motorcycle—sidelining him for two weeks. Vince can barely accept Valentina Russo’s heartfelt apologies. Ever since his brother was wrongly convicted—and killed in prison—Vince has lost respect for lawyers. But wait—is that Val volunteering at his refuge for underprivileged kids? If Vince isn’t careful, this lady of the law might just earn his respect and his heart.