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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Write Your Own Happy Ending

by Heather FitzGerald @WriteFitz

They say to, "Write what you know." Yes, that elusive group of insider-experts (aka they) are always quick to dispense wisdom and point out where we fall short. Alas, they are unparalleled in their counsel and we must strive to meet their exacting standards.

But aren’t they also the ones that said ‘rules are made to be broken’? I think they might be confused.  

For this post, let’s focus on the first platitude. Writing what we know is sage advice with which we would all agree, rule-breakers or not. And if there’s a necessary subject that we don’t know? Well, that’s why God made Google (on the eighth day of creation, I believe).

So, what do you know?

Probably not the same things that I know. Our differences as writers are what fill library shelves with a plethora of choices for readers. One person’s life experience can speak truth or give clarity to someone else. It’s a beautiful thing. And if our own odyssey is still a work in progress, or a tale that ended in tragedy, we can use our writing as a therapeutic tool to process those things that we don’t always understand. A type of living journal, storying allows us to work through issues and wrestle with problems in a way that we may not have the opportunity to do in the here-and-now.

In writing my fantasy novels, The Tethered World and The Flaming Sword, I did a lot of this ‘write what you know’ stuff. And most of those ideas came from positive aspects of my life. From restaurants, to hometowns, to character names, I borrowed from my childhood and friendships to craft my tales.

But there’s one particular issue that is dear to my heart. It’s been the biggest test of my life. Although dealing with it day to day runs the gambit from easy-peasy to hospital visits, I wove it into my story so that it gave a sense of satisfaction and joy that my family doesn’t normally encounter in dealing with it.

It is the issue of my son’s autism.

Not to say that he doesn’t bring us great joy. Or that we haven’t been blessed beyond measure in many ways thanks to the gift of his autism. However, the world in which we live is shattered. There are heartaches and hurts associated with the challenges of a disability that this mother’s touch cannot fix. But I can write a different journey for him in the pages of my books. And so I did.

I didn’t take away his autism in the character of Brock Larcen, but I decided to make it a qualification for something most of us wouldn’t expect: kingship. Brock’s unique quirks and abilities make him tailored to the task of ruling a realm of Gnomes entrusted with protecting a powerful sword that harkens back to the Garden of Eden.

The Gnomes of Vituvia are the friends my son has never had. They love him, understand him, and look up to him. Although the Gnomes protect him, they also need him. These powerful little friends and Brock’s kingship are a gift I have given my son because I cannot fix the brokenness of the world around him any more than I can fix the brokenness within him.

There will be a day when all of our questions are answered. When the imperfect will become perfect (1st Corinthians 13:10). A day that will complete all that we lack and make each of our stories into a happily-ever-after. Like C.S. Lewis wrote in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:

“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”

Until that day, I’m thankful we have stories to read and to write. It’s not that I don’t accept things as they are, it’s that I know where our destiny lies. I know what happens in the end of The Book. Looking at the future gives me a better perspective of the present.

What life experiences have you had that would make a great story? Have you written it yet? We need to learn from each other.


Sadie Larcen and her family are slowly recovering from their life-altering trek to the Tethered World. That is until their aunt arrives clutching a mysterious letter and sporting a black eye. The letter that Aunt Jules shares with the family writhes with sinister implications. A new and menacing enemy has slunk from the shadows and is conspiring to seize the most powerful piece of weaponry in the land: The Flaming Sword of Cherubythe. The sword must—at all costs—be kept from the enemies who lust for its power.

The threat extends to Sadie’s autistic brother Brock. As High King in training, he now resides in the Tethered World, within close proximity to the sword. It’s apparent that drastic measures will be required by all in order to protect what’s most important. Can Sadie once again confront her disabling fear, stare evil in the face, and walk away whole—let alone alive? How can one teenage girl and her family save a sword with the potential to start a world war? Will lines be crossed even as Sadie’s faith is tested? Sadie knows it’s going to take a lot more than strength, grit, and courage to survive.

Heather L.L. FitzGerald lives in Texas with four someones that call her mom and one special someone that calls her his wife. Her YA Fantasy The Flaming Sword releases November 1st on Amazon and other online retailers. Heather is a member of ACFW,  North Texas Christian Writers, and helps to facilitate the Manet writer’s group. She loves drinking ice lattes, cloud watching, and getting lost in a good book.

You can connect with Heather on her website/blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and  Goodreads.


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