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Writer’s Craft #51 – Making Lemonade

December 19, 2011
April Grey, SF author

April Grey

April Grey‘s urban fantasy novel, Chasing The Trickster, is published by Eternal Press. Her short stories have been published in such print anthologies as Demonmind's Halloween 2010, The Best of Everyday Fiction 2, Northern Haunts, Ephemera and Terrible Beauty, Fearful Symmetry. Many of these stories can be found in her collection, The Fairy Cake Bake Shoppe available through Amazon and Smashwords.  More at: www.aprilgreywrites, www.aprilgrey.blogspot and
www.amazon.com/author/aprilgrey


In 2004 my life was a roller coaster. That spring, our six-year-old son went on steroids after being ill for four months. Moreover, I decided to switch from writing fan fiction to writing my own stories again, after not writing at all for over a decade. That summer my husband had his first heart attack. In the fall, a second heart attack necessitated a quadruple by-pass. Furthermore, our son, taken off of steroids, became so ill that I made the decision to home school him.

That winter, while my husband recuperated at home from his heart surgery, I home schooled our son. I discovered that our son did math two years above his second grade class and read three years above them. His problems had been a combination of giftedness and chronic illness. His teachers had only ever complained.

During that strange time, my novel took fruit. While writing Chasing the Trickster, I cried not for myself but for my characters as they went through worse things than I was going through. They gave me hope that things do get better.

Writing can help us not only survive bad times, but even teach us to flourish during adversity.

What do you think?

11 Comments leave one →
  1. December 19, 2011 7:59 am

    I didn’t realize it while I was writing, but many of my stories are me working through issues in my own life. Writing can be very cathartic. Reading back through my stories, I see my values and worldview shining through. There is more of who I truly am in my fiction than in anything else I’ve ever written. I’ve cried over my characters without realizing I was crying for myself.

    A character in one of my books is autistic. I wrote the story around him as a way of dealing with my own children’s autism. Five of my eight are affected. The book was my way of mourning the adults they would never become. But they surprised me. They are both less and more than I thought they would be. Maybe it’s time to write a new book.

    • December 20, 2011 5:01 am

      Big hugs! Though my son doesn’t have autism, DAN (Defeat Autism Now) doctors have been a huge help in resolving my son’s immune system problems, including PANDAS. I’d love to read that new book!

  2. December 19, 2011 2:39 pm

    It takes courage to write about hardships, thank you for writing a lot of truth. We all can benefit and help others from writing our own truths.

  3. Kari Terhark permalink
    December 19, 2011 8:04 pm

    hmm… I can’t comment at this point in life. I just got a nice promotion, all my debt is paid off, I can take any international vacation I choose, I’ve never been healthier, and not that life is great, but I”m satisfied with where I”m at. I find writing has sharpened my mind; I can resolve problems much easier, I’m faster to think on my feet, and I make connections more easily. Maybe that is the key… I”m working out ways to get where I want.

  4. December 19, 2011 11:32 pm

    I’d say adversity is not only aided by writing, but that it also aids in great writing. Heh, that came out rather garbled. But seriously, I believe that the experience of hardship does allow one to better write in that the experience and emotions are there at the surface rather than fabricated. Granted, many gifted writers can convey devastation in their writing, but to be devastated and to be able to convey that actual feeling during the times when it’s occurring allows for even greater prose and stronger emotions in writing.

  5. December 20, 2011 5:06 am

    That sounds great! The resolving of problems sounds like something similar. Wishing you a productive and happy New Year!

  6. December 20, 2011 9:52 am

    It is in those challenging times that we learn the most about ourselves. I’ve also used my writing to get through tough times. Oh wait, I still do because still in them. (wry grin) I also funnel a lot of excess emotion into my books. Helps me be nice in my real world. (grin)

  7. December 20, 2011 3:54 pm

    Yes. Writing makes adversity not only bearable but desirable. Unless you’ve been through some hard knocks how can you write about life? And let’s face it, even the most bizarre fantasy is not engaging unless it delves into the emotional core of life. When I was younger I hit the road and practically dove into the most extreme, dangerous situations I could find. Why? Experience, grist for the mill. Now that I’m a husband and father of five I don’t need to look for it – it seeks me out.

  8. December 21, 2011 5:21 am

    LOL, John. Parenthood does make a huge difference. Family life gives me the greatest rewards and the greatest challenges.

    Thank you for your insight!

  9. December 21, 2011 1:03 pm

    I’ve been through my share of bad experiences, and I know that’s been good for my writing. I can’t say that makes me glad for those bad experiences. I’d still prefer not to have lived through them, and I hope I won’t have to live through more in the future. I’m certainly not going to go looking for trouble just to help my writing.

    But I can say this. My writing has given me more courage when facing adversity. I’m less afraid to deal with a bad situation because I know my writing will help me get through it. In that sense, my writing has made me a better, stronger person.

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