Living Through the Eyes of Story

Photo Credit: http://mickhartley.typepad.com/blog/2012/08/whitby-harbour.html

Photo Credit: http://mickhartley.typepad.com/blog/2012/08/whitby-harbour.html

Creating Fiction Inspired From Life

Every person experiences life differently. That is what makes story so interesting, because every person experiences different stories or hears stories from others around them.

When I was in Australia I met an elderly woman who was broken over the fact that she never got to meet her Father. And it all came down to the fact that it was all because her grandmother was too afraid of letting go of her daughter. Her mother took her as a child to the ship ports and they were going to leave that day on a ship to America, but somehow her grandmother made them stay. Forced or persuaded her mother to not leave. This was a story beckoning to be told…

Note… below, I have changed some things, so it’s no longer about the woman who I met. Instead it is a story about a little boy named Callum.

She bounced him on her hip. His eyes lit in excitement. He never met his PaPa, David. David was an American GI, based in Brisbane during World War Two, but he had to leave with the rest of the GI troops when his time was up. He wanted Margaret to come back to Pennsylvania with him. At that time she hadn’t been able to go with him, but she wrote when she found she was pregnant and about Callum’s birth. “Margaret!” a woman called from behind her, pulling her from her thoughts. She looked back to a familiar face. Her mother. She dramatically wove her handkerchief in the air. “Margaret?” She squeaked. “It’s grandmum…” Callum looked up with a big smile as his grandmother approached them, “Is she coming with us?” Margaret blushed and looked down at her son, who was shining with excitement. She had been caught. “Where?” Grandmum asked. “To see PaPa.” “No… Margaret… You would never do such a thing…” she sighed a statement while waving her lacy fan frantically in front of her face to try rid the heat. After no answer she asked to reassure herself, “would you?” Margaret rolled her eyes and sighed. Her plan failed, she tried sneaking here without her mother knowing they had gone. Mother must have heard from her friend who lived near the port. Her mother cocked her head as her lower lip dropped. “You wouldn’t leave me… and I don’t want to leave Australia… I love it here and you should too. You were born here. Besides, do you know how tough of a time it was for me and your father when we came here on the ships from England?” “But, Mother… please stop it. I want him to meet his dad, besides I really miss David. I need him and he needs me and Callum. We are his family.” “No… I am. I don’t have any family left here besides you.” she lifted her handkerchief in her hand up to her forehead, “He doesn’t need you!” “Yes he does… he needs us both. Besides he bought us our passage there.” She lifted the tickets as proof. “You won’t go!” she quickly snatched the tickets and ripped them.

Listening to the real woman tell me her story brought shivers to my spine. I was asking myself all these questions: Why? Why would a woman be so selfish to split up a man and woman who love each other? Why didn’t the daughter’s mother still go? I couldn’t stop thinking about her eyes when she tried being light-hearted about the moment. Later in her life she traveled to America. She wanted to visit her dad, but he died before she got the chance. So sad. It was then that I got inspiration to write Callum’s story.

Have you ever thought an experience (you or someone you knew experienced) would make a great story? Has an grand-parent or war veteran told you the stories of their youth? Have you ever wanted to take ideas from life events? Have you ever read a book and thought “Wow, I would really like to create such amazing characters! And I have character ideas from the past… but how can I use them?”

If you answered yes to any the above questions or have wondered these things at one time in your life then I have some secrets for you!

I am by no means saying your characters should steal real people’s identities. I am just saying you can get inspiration and ideas for stories from other’s lives like I did above. But if you do this then you need to be careful in changing the story and also the characters for your protection.

Here are a few things you can do:

Story Bank – Whenever I go somewhere I make sure to write ideas down that I get. If someone tells me a story or some sentence or thought that would make a compelling story… I write it down either in my iPhone or in a notepad. I hate forgetting story ideas… and it is a monster that I deal with a lot of the time.

Mull it Over – After hearing a story from someone and after writing the idea down I think about it and think about it some more. The more time it spends in my mind… I think the idea gets richer. And remember to ask yourself questions so you get to know the story better.

•Is this story’s character inspired by the person that told you the story? •Or do you have a character that is totally unrelated to the person who told you the story?

Change it Up A Bit– Once you sit down to write think of who your character is… the person who told you the story. Do you want them to be the character? If that answer is a yes, then you may want to change the character (Their name, where they live, their description, and their characterization) so that you wont get in trouble or worse sued for using their story.

•Names – If you met a man who was a construction worker named Bob the Builder and he loves working in the land of legos and has a love interest in Mario’s girlfriend Princess Peach and you decide you want to use those details for a story then you might want to change it up a bit.

You could change it up a bit by saying:

Bob Castaluti is an Italian painter who has a magical talent of painting scenes that come to life, and loves a woman who isn’t his- Queen Sylvia.

•Times – Roy Johnson an elderly man who is also a writer loves telling his grand-daughter stories of the days when cowboys and indians would fight.

Changing it up: Sara loved hearing her grandpa’s stories, because after he’d finish telling her a story, she would experience them. It all started the night that White Trees knocked on her window. He needed her help now to save themselves, to save herself, and most of all to save the spell bounding story spinner – her grandpa.

Now it’s your turn…

1.) First, tell me an interesting real life story in about 2 sentences… maybe it’s from your life… or from someone you know.
2.) Now, take that and change it up… and it’s up to you. You can change the setting… the name, the place… the time period. Anything… You are the story spinner.

What is the story?

 

Who wants to go on a journaling journey with me?

I love journaling and I think that is why I also love to write on a weblog. I remember writing on my first weblog just like I remember writing in my first journal. My Dad gave me my first journal and I carried it around everywhere with me. I am amazed that no one ever found it and read it, because it went everywhere with me. To school, to swimming lessons (well, minus the swimming part!) – but yes, the main point to this was that, that journal went everywhere with me! It was almost like my best friend. It was there whenever I needed to talk to someone. The things I was too embarressed to talk to anyone else about – could be confided in the blank sheets that called my name. If I was mad, sad, happy, tired – I kept returning to the book. And with the close of every back cover I felt somewhat different than I had when I started that journal. And that is when a feeling of accomplishment set over me. I had finished a journal and next time I was to the city (since I lived in the country) I could get a new journal.

Remembering

When I read back over my journals from the past, it almost feels like I am reading someone else’s journal. Almost like they are preaching to me and know where I have been. All of my journals start out with two simple words.

Dear Jesus,

Dear Lord,

It is almost like when Anne Frank wrote in her journals, she wrote “Dear Kitty” so it’s different with everyone. But I felt that when I was writing “Dear Lord” or “Dear Jesus” that what I was actually saying was being heard and that it wasn’t just black words on a white sheet of paper, but that they had a deeper and better connection to who I am as a child of God.

The Right Journal

Just as I can only write with certain pens the journal makes all the different. I don’t like bulky journals or heavy ones. They have to be the right size. Big enough to enjoy writing in and small enough that I could stick it in my bag and bring it anyplace. And of course I am not talking about tiny notebooks – those bug me too.

The Plan: The Journal Journey

I have a plan and I want to know if you are in? This plan is a journal journey! You may wonder what a journal journey is? But I am going to hold a giveaway for this journal below and how ever many comments I get and shares will win one of these journals. Which is exciting, because look at them- I am jealous… I want one. haha…

Choice One

Choice 2

So you ask, how can I win one of those amazing journals?

This contest will be taking place this coming week. I will be giving away 2 journals of your choice for the prizes, but in order to stay in the running you must:

  1. You must be a follower of my blog! :)
  2. Share the blog with your friends on facebook, twitter, your blog, and other sites during the week! (I will get notifications that you have shared so, I will know!)
  3. Comment. Answer the questions & ask questions.
  4. And last but not least, take part in conversation in the comments. The posts will be showing how to dig deep in our journalling and how that helps us in our daily walk!
  5. The contest will begin today and will run till the 29th of September! :)

    Good LUCK! :) May the Journals be in your favor! :D

How About You?

  1. Do you like to journal?
  2. Do you think of it as more of a spiritual thing or is it more of a book when you just write your feelings and thoughts?
  3. What are some tips that help you when you are writing in a journal?

 

The Time Travel Jeep

Hello writers and readers! This is a short post today, but I wanted to share with you all the first official post on “Blue Monkey Writing” a collaborative blog written by writers. Check it out. Show the Blue Monkey Writing Blog some love by subscribing. :)

The Time Travel Jeep.

Murdering Fiction Master-Class

Today I went to a writing workshop at the Brisbane Writer’s Festival called “Murdering Fiction”. I was really excited about this class because I have never done crime or thriller writing. But, I know that I will soon in the near future, because I’ve been having some wicked dreams as of late.

This ended up a little blurry. I will be sure to have someone else take another picture. But, yes… I loved this heart made of books. This was right before my workshop “Murdering Fiction”.

I honestly was upset when the workshop was over… Okay let me be completely honest 20 minutes in I was talking to myself (inside my mind of course) and saying, “This is boring.” or “This writer is really drab and boring.” I would have to say it was the worse workshop on writing that I have ever been to. I hate it when you go to a workshop and then you end up with a writer who is teaching it – who is not very good. It was a downer – here I had been waiting for some knowledge and pointers on how to go about structuring and writing good crime/thrillers… and the teacher ended up being very, very boring.

Uffda. haha… I hope tomorrow’s class is amazing. I believe my writing class tomorrow will be focused on world building in Fantasy books. I can’t wait. :)

I better go to bed, because I am sooo tired. Colds have been flying about through Queensland these past few months and I don’t want to get sick. I will talk to you all later… My pillow is calling me.

Will write again soon.

Love,

Devin

It’s been a little while…

Hello Everyone in the world,

I just thought I would write a quick post. :) I have been keeping busy and amazingly enough this week I have gotten a lot of writing done. I have been doing some freelance writing and design jobs. I have been enjoying it. When I have finished the jobs I will post them in my portfolio section for all people to view. :) Other than that I just finished writing a travel article on Mt Tirbogargen and when my boyfriend and I climbed it with a few friends.

Other than that, Johan and I went to a writing course on Character Buillding with Tristan Bancks. It was really interesting because he had us do a few writing things that made me think differently about writing. We talked about all areas of Character Development and how that adds to stories – we even got to go outside and people watch and make up stories about those walking by. It was rather funny and interesting.  It’s interesting how there are all sorts of people in the world. I will share something that I wrote in the class at the bottom of this entry. He had us do some digging into our past about things that we remember and one of the things that I remembered was “the last time I saw my Grandpa Dennis.”

“It is a sunny morning as my grandfather and I were driving into town. We were headed to the hardware store. We rounded the last corner before arriving at the edge of town. The trees were sparkling green and the sky was blue. Grandpa had to get new screening for our screen door, because we had some new kittens who were at the stage of trying out their new sharp claws by climbing up the screen door. As I drove toward the hardware store, a white sign was swinging in the wind. It read, “Bakery” “Ohh! Why don’t we stop at the bakery after we get the screening – Just don’t tell grandma.” He smiled mischeiviously with that crooked smile that I loved. I smiled too and answered, “Sure!” As soon as we got the screening for the door, we went into the bakery and got a dozen lengendary blueberry doughnuts. My grandpa handed me the box and then turned to pay for them. As soon as we got into my car, the sun was shining into the passenger seat and I got this weird feeling that this would be my last time seeing my grandpa. I didn’t want to believe it, so I tried pushing it out of my mind.”

I hope you enjoy your Tuesday and that you had a great weekend! :)

Sorry if there are any typos, I typed this on my iPad and it’s hard to type with it on wordpress sometimes.

What kinds of things do you do to build characters? 

 

Back in my flat-ett! :)

Hello Everyone,

Today is a lovely day here in Brisbane. I opened the windows and put a sweater on. It feels like autumn… even though I am in Australia. There is a women next door who is working in her garden and I can smell fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. They smell like heaven. I just wish I could go help her… haha… and eat the veggies too. They smell so yummy. There is a wooden picket fence between her garden and my windows. But every once in awhile I think that it would be lovely to sneak into her garden. It makes me think of the book “The Secret Garden”.

Who wouldn’t want a secret garden to escape to? Like yesterday Johan and I took a walk and discovered a park where some moms were having a picnic with their kids and such. It was beautiful. :) But on our way back I saw a wall with vines growing all over it and then in one area there was an iron gate that looked like it entered a vine covered rock wall maze. Johan said he would build me a garden maze someday! I am leaving it to him… BUT… Let’s just hope I can find my way out of it once I made my way into it. Because I didn’t have the best luck with that in England and if you ask any of my family members about how good I am at mazes… lets just say  – I am not the best! :P

Today I have been thinking about my characters from my book and have been trying to decide how to go about writing the first book. I am slightly stuck… but I will figure something out. I am hoping to set up a time with some other writers where I could have a writing group, somewhat like what C.S. Lewis had with J.R. R. Toilken in Oxford called “The Inklings”. I would so love that.

Other than that I am situating back into my flat after having been in Toowoomba. I am thankful my flat isn’t in the busy loud part of the city! It is on a back street of a bigger road so thank God I don’t hear the traffic.

But onto writing I go! I will be posting a winner from my Zombie Flash Fiction contest soon… so keep your eyes open! :)

Devin

Check out my latest Minnesota Star Tribune World Class Travel Blog Post – http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/travel/blogs/148821685.html

Making a difference – Shining.

I really want to make a difference with what I write. I am looking through all my notes from “The Ragged Edge” conference and am completely inspired. God has a plan in everything that we experience, and go through in life. Something that Eric Wilson had said when he spoke at the conference was that there was a time he was angry with God and his wife asked what he would like for father’s day and he said he’d want the inspirational poster that says, “God is the Author of life” and later that day he broke down crying, because he had realized as an author that the Character’s are at the mercy of the writer. And in this sense, God designed and shaped each person as they are, so they can’t just turn from God and spit in his eyes.

I am in the process of writing a book, I am rewriting my chapter one, I need more of a “BOOM” to start out with. Please keep me in your prayers, as it does help and I need all the inspiration and dreams/images from God.

Keep Checking Back, I should have some information on tomorrow about what I did the second day at “The Ragged Edge”.

Today my sister and I went through St. Louis, it was an absolutely exciting day.

Well I best be going to bed as it is pretty late here.

-Devin Berglund