Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Your Heartache, Your Story

By: Author Tricia Goyer

The themes for my novels have a common thread. They center around ordinary people plopped into extraordinary situations (mostly centered around war), and with the guidance of God these people rise above ... and help and save others in the process.

Also, all my novels have some level of abandonment by a parent that leads to internal struggles. I never planned this, but looking back it's in all my books! Even my third (and final) novel in my Spanish Civil War series.

As I was writing book #3 a light clicked on and suddenly every element of the story came together as it was revealed to me that one of my main characters was abandoned by a parent ... and WHO he really is.

I didn't plan that in Book #1, but it seems as if I did. It makes the whole story work and takes the whole series to a deeper level than I anticipated.

Hmmm ... as someone who didn't meet my biological dad until my late 20s and who got pregnant and was abandoned by my boyfriend as a teen I WONDER why I keep writing about this issue?!

This reminds me about something I read this morning from the book Loving God by Chuck Colson:

One Easter morning, as I sat in the chapel at the Delaware State Prison waiting to preach, my mind drifted back in time ... to scholarships and honors earned, cases argued and won, great decisions made from lofty government offices. My life had been the perfect success story, the great American dream fulfilled.

But all at once I realized that it was not my success God had used to enable me to help those in this prison, or in hundreds others like it. My life of success was not what made this morning so glorious--all my achievements meant nothing in God's economy. No, the real legacy of my life was my biggest failure--that I was an ex-convict. My greatest humiliation--being sent to prison--was the beginning of God's greatest use of my life; he chose the one experience in which I could not glory for his glory.

Confronted with this staggering truth, I understood with a jolt that I had been looking at life backward. But now I could see: Only when I lost everything that I thought made Charles Colson a great guy had I found the true self God intended me to be and the true purpose of my life.

It is not what we do that matters, but what a sovereign God chooses to do through us.

Consider this in your own writing. Do your historical novels have elements of your greatest loss and humiliation? If not, my suggestion is that you prayerfully mine those areas, because it is there you can write with passion, pain and conviction. It is from those hurt places that you will touch the soul of a reader in ways you never expected.

Tricia Goyer


  1. This is helpful, thank you! :)

  2. Must have been amazing to realize the common thread in your books! I love how your wrapped up your post with a challenge to "prayerfully mine those areas" so we can write with "passion, pain, and conviction." Thanks!


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