By p.m.terrell, Columnist for Southern Writers Magazine
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, recently
posed this question to businesses: how is your business changing the world? As
I pondered this, I realized that for authors, the question is: how is your writing changing the world?
A book’s lifespan can far outlive an author’s mortality,
especially with the invention of ebooks. When you consider the books you have
read, there is a chance that at least half are by authors that have long since
passed. From Shakespeare to Dickens, Robert B. Parker to Stieg Larsson, their
books continue to resonate with new generations of readers—and yours should,
Below are some of the ways authors can go from average to
great in writing books that stand the test of time. Each of these subjects will
be discussed in detail in Southern
Writers Magazine in upcoming issues, including tips and techniques.
using historical backdrops, especially with circumstances that tend to repeat
throughout history, such as war or migration.
character conflicts with which the vast majority can identify. It can be a
parent losing a child, a lost love, financial disaster, medical challenges, or
a natural disaster that leads to the reader pondering what they might do under
your characters to greater depths, tightening the noose as far as you can.
Their climb upward will be all the more inspiring.
your characters to greater heights, depicting how power, fame, or wealth can
impact a person for good or evil.
your roots. Ancestry websites are some of the most popular on the Internet, and
more people are traveling to their ancestral homes. Your story may resonate
with millions, even if it is a fictionalized account.
your settings to educate readers. Geography determines a character’s destiny; a
character emerging from Main Street USA will have vastly different experiences
from one in war-torn Syria, poverty-stricken Niger, or the streets of Paris.
inventions and innovation. Science fiction authors
inspired everything from artificial limbs to robots and journeys to outer
space, but any other genre can include a character that is an inventor, a
scientist, researcher, or back yard tinkerer.
your passion. If you are passionate about child welfare, animal rescue, homelessness,
climate change, migration, plastics in our oceans, or any other social cause,
you can incorporate it into your writing. It might be a major or minor
character facing any of those challenges or someone that helps to rescue one
award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 24 books ranging
from historical to suspense. She details how she conducts historical research
from the Internet to traveling the world in her most recent release, April in the Back of Beyond
. Her most popular books, Songbirds are Free
, are creative nonfiction about her ancestors’ roles in
migrating west in America while many of her suspense incorporate Ireland, her
ancestral home, including Checkmate: Clans and Castles