Winter has finally arrived to Texas! I love long sleeves and cozy quilts, and the excuse to wear my handmade mittens. And then there's the fact that my birthday is in the second week of December. One of the sadder things about getting older is that you know what everyone is getting you, either because you don't want much or because you went shopping with them to buy it, and my mom flat-out asked me if I wanted a pair of skinny jeans to wear with my boots.
Everyone, or at least all writers, have heard the phrase "write what you know." And that can make for some pretty interesting stories. I mean, everyone, even if they live in the boring suburbs with quiet neighbors and an unchanging routine, has seen some unique things in their lives.
Everyone has strange skills and experiences. My dad can figure percentages in his head. He's also allergic to cats, dogs, and pine trees. My mom belongs in the vocal group Celtic Woman and my sister is the master of making faces. She can also make one side of her nose twitch in an adorable, bunny-rabbit way.
I've lived through some interesting experiences as well. I've thrown up at a church potluck, owned a dog-walking business, crocheted seven afghans (three of them were baby-sized), moved cross-country, and attended a homeschool co-op.
Think about it. Yes, our normal day-to-day lives might be boring. But when we think about it, we can find some pretty interesting things that we know and can therefore write about with excellence and authority.
Let's take the homeschool co-op I went to. Classical Conversations. History sentences, timeline cards, and skip-counting. I still hear the lady's voice on the "CC-CD" singing "two, four, six, eight, ten, twelve, fourteen...."
It gets better when you're up to squares and cubes. "One, eight, twenty-seven, sixty-four, one hundred twenty-five...."
And yes, everything was put to music. Several things had hand motions to them. Like the history sentences--and the time our teacher had to kick the air to "expel" Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, and her shoe flew off and hit the ceiling.
And then there was Latin. We never learned much actual Latin--we'd focus more on grammar and worry about vocabulary when we got to high school. That was important. You know how verbs conjugate in English? Latin does the same thing with their nouns. It's annoying, but it means that word order is much freer.
And with the little bit of Latin I knew from grade school, I was able to create a character fluent in it.
Obviously, I'm not fluent in Latin. I can't even piece together a sentence I haven't previously memorized. But with a basic background in how Latin works and my handy Collins-Gem pocket dictionary (which I found at a women's crisis center for $.25) I can generate a few things that really add to Lukas's character.
Let me rephrase that. I could make up things that add to Lukas's character, if I knew what being bilingual was like.
What's a funny experience you could write a book about? How many people do you know with birthdays in December? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to like us on Facebook!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.