My two daughters were born in Brazil, South America. When they were small, our neighbor celebrated her fifteenth birthday. In Brazil, as in the rest of Latin America, a girl’s fifteenth birthday is a special occasion to mark her change from a little girl to a young lady. I couldn’t help asking, “What if my daughter grew up in Brazil, anticipating her quinze anos, as it is called, and was stuck in the States the year she turned fifteen?” As it turned out, my daughters grew up in Africa. But the year my youngest turned fifteen, I told myself, “If you are ever going to write that story, it must be now, before you forget what fifteen is like.” Lots of my own feelings about not fitting in back in America after living overseas came into the story as well as experiences of my daughters.
Story ideas are all around you. You can develop them by asking a series of “what if?” questions. What if my main character had to come to America just before her fifteenth birthday? What if she left her best friend behind? What if she didn’t like America? What if the boy she liked didn’t quite fit in either? Your story grows as you answer your own questions.
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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