I felt a little guilty when I walked out of the Westmoreland Medical Clinic for the last time. In the parking lot I stifled my spreading grin, and after shutting the car door I unleashed a giggle. I was free!
Until that spring, I had no interest in reading or writing fiction. I wanted to stick with the Bible, the only book I felt I could trust to be true (nonfiction). My work in health records was the perfect outlet for me as I carefully researched and managed medical files. It was all about order and facts.
But something changed when I left my job. I was now free to pursue something radically different.
I challenged myself to consider how Jesus often used parables – fictional stories to help his hearers understand the concepts he was teaching.
Could I do that?
I wanted to improve how I serve God and others, and broaden my communication skills. That meant I needed to learn to tell a good story, like Jesus, but how do I start?
I called myself a writer. That was hard. It was like admitting I might waste a lot of time arranging words with nothing to show for it. My husband said, “Go for it,” and my family was supportive, so I dove in.
The next step was to put money on it. I bought Writing Fiction for Dummies, by Randy Ingermanson. The following year I was privileged to tell the author how much I appreciated his book when I encountered him at the Oregon Christian Writers summer conference!
I did it!
I’ve sat through dozens of workshops, taken courses, attended author events, talked with editors and agents at writing conferences, and kept writing. I work with my critique partners so we can improve together.
My first devotionals were contracted last year and my first short story released just this week (see Jesus Talked to Me Today in the sidebar). I don’t intend to quit. It takes a lot of faith, it’s true, to believe my writing is helping people.
I want to keep getting better
I’m turning another corner this year, though not as dramatic as my leap from medical writing (nonfiction) to stories (fiction). Now I’m learning to tell real stories, keeping them true, with a literary aspect. It’s like telling the truth but making it more captivating, or perhaps more understandable.
Here’s an explanation of what I’m talking about.
“Creative nonfiction merges the boundaries between literary art (fiction, poetry) and research nonfiction (statistical, fact-filled, run of the mill journalism). It is writing composed of the real, or of facts, that employs the same literary devices as fiction such as setting, voice/tone, character development, etc. This makes if (sic) different (more ‘creative’) than standard nonfiction writing.” – from Writing Tips page on the University of Vermont’s website.
by Kathy Sheldon Davis