Award-winning author and writing teacher, Jill Elizabeth Nelson, writes what she likes to read—tales of adventure seasoned with romance, humor, and faith.
Jill is a popular speaker for writers and readers groups. She delights to bring the “Ahah! Moment” to students as they make new skills their own. Her bestselling handbook for writers, Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View, is available at http://amzn.to/IvQTkj.
One of my favorite aspects of being a writer is adapting real life into story form. In turn, the story examines reality in such a way that it reflects deeper understanding and meaning back into readers’ real lives.
C. S. Lewis put it like this: “For me, reason is the natural organ of truth, but imagination is the organ of meaning.” Truth is a fine thing, but without comprehension of its meaning, it’s a rather sterile commodity. Imagination (story-telling) breathes life into truth.
In my most recent release, Frame Up, I particularly enjoyed holding the mirror of meaning up to the relationship between a mother and her teenage daughter. As a mother of four (and now a grandmother), I’ve had plentiful opportunity to understand the feelings of Laurel Adams, my heroine, as she struggles to get to the bottom of her daughter’s sudden and mysterious surliness.
Can anyone relate to this small excerpt?
She spared a glance toward the teenager’s sullen profile. Caroline was blooming into a pretty young woman, but at the moment she was more the pouty child.
Laurel’s angst is made doubly sharp as she contrasts her public persona as a psychologist and an expert on single parenting with what she perceives as her personal failure as a parent. Regardless of professional expertise, what parent has never felt like a failure? For that matter, which of us has never experienced discouragement when we come short of the expectations we’ve set for ourselves? This common human struggle creates the bond of sympathy between readers and the character.
Anything in the following excerpt feel a tad familiar?
Laurel fixed her attention straight ahead, words churning for release behind her lips. What could she say that would pop the cork on whatever festered inside her daughter’s heart? In her speaker persona, Laurel was touted as the voice of calm wisdom to beleaguered single parents everywhere, but right now she didn’t have a clue how to deal with her own daughter.
To make matters worse, a new man steps into her life that seems to find an instant rapport with her daughter. Talk about frustration! Poor Laurel, she rejoices to see someone able to reach inside her daughter’s shell, and yet she’s passionately jealous and deeply wounded that this near stranger has done what she could not do.
Here’s how she struggles:
Laurel sat back, air gushing from her lungs. She should want to hug David for fostering a breakthrough, but honestly, right now she’d rather slap him. How irrational was that? He’d given her daughter the proper advice—talk to your mother. But Laurel was pea-green jealous—and hurt—that Caroline had opened up to him first.
You can see how this internal conflict might add complications to the love interest between Laurel and this new and potentially dangerous man in the picture. The fact that David is a murder suspect ties her emotions in a Gordian knot.
How delightfully fun this book was to write! I hope my readers also find it a nail-bitingly fun journey.
I’d like to give a signed copy of Frame Up to anyone who responds with a comment to the following question:
How does reading novels add meaning to your life?
Visit Jill on the web at: www.jillelizabethnelson.com or look her up on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ JillElizabethNelson.Author or Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/JillElizNelson.