Seeds of Story

The Christmas lights sparkle half on the tree and half off as the decorating begins this evening. Soon we will turn on Christmas carols and hang ornaments. We have a tradition where our parents give us a special ornament every year. I love reliving the memories of past years as I find a place on the crowded tree for each one of them.

I’ve never written a proper memoir (I’m much too young and ordinary to write one unless it were about kitchen mishaps); but as I look at my stories, I realize a part of my life has been used in each of them.

Every cute toddler, every insecure Christian girl who must grow in her faith, every picnic, every birthday, every church service… it’s all happened to me in some way or another and just needs a slight bit of re-imagining for the setting and characters I’m using at the moment.

I read an article the other day about finding inspiration from other works by building off elements of the story and making them our own. (Fairy-tale retellings are my favorite example of this.) How much more realistic and grounded our stories would be if we used our own lives as the basis!

Take your favorite memory of receiving a doll for your sixth birthday and turn yourself into a Dickens character who was orphaned the week before. The setting, the character, and even the doll will be completely unrecognizable from the original; but the joy over the gift is the same–probably even stronger.

Sometimes a story takes us so far from our own experiences that research is needed. (I’ve had to look up how to make flaming arrows and what fainting feels like.) But humans are the same, and the seeds of story are to be found in every life.

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5 thoughts on “Seeds of Story

      1. Yeah, we pick ours up throughout the year. For instance, I got mine around Thanksgiving when we were at the coast! Other times we’ll get it in June or something like that if we see something pretty somewhere! ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  1. For years my grandma would send each of us a new ornament. But she’s in Heaven now.
    I know I certainly use my own life in my stories. I don’t know how many times I’ll find myself changing something that happened to me, or my feelings about something so I can use it in a story. It just makes things so much more real.

    Liked by 1 person

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