Sandra Jones · writing advice

Some Experience Required

I wish I could do half the stuff my favorite heroines have done, but let’s face it, I’m not Lara Croft, and I’m not going to ever experience a roll in the hay with Gerard Butler or the passionate embrace of Johnny Depp. Hey, a girl can dream!

But when I write, there’s a lot of things I try to experience firsthand for research.  There are times I have to make myself leave the keyboard behind to write a better story.  Sure, I can Google how to para-sail, but it’s so much more authentic to actually do it. Hopefully, the experience shows in the writing.

I’ve done some pretty weird stuff (for me) for book fodder. At age 40, I played paintball for the first time. I’ve handled assorted firearms, camped in a rainforest, trekked through wildlife refuges, eaten exotic foods, and even went on a ghost tour.  Last week I went inshore fishing for sharks, tarpon, and cobia.  My husband accidentally hooked a seagull, and let me tell you, the sharks weren’t nearly as scary as that darn bird was!

New activities are fun, and they open doors to new stories. I challenge the writer in you to get up from behind your keyboard and seek a new experience. Live a little! Then write about it. What adventures have you had lately for the sake of a story?

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Wish for the Moon by Sandra Jones is available now from The Wild Rose PressAmazon, and Barnes and Noble

Matthias, a heroic knight, is accused of a horrible crime he doesn’t remember. Believing his guilt, he flees his home in shame, but in the flight he stumbles across an ancient portal taking him far away to the future. In modern day Wales & far from his troubles, Matthias  guards the mystery on his ancestral property as closely as he guards his own heart—until Carrie Greer, a modern-day herbalist, accidentally discovers his secret and drags him back to the hell he’d left behind in the 13th century. Thrust into close confines with Carrie, Matthias forms a tenuous bond with her that soon ignites a burning passion. Carrie’s faith becomes his inspiration as he fights inner demons that could shatter the bond of trust growing between them. Together they face enemies of the flesh and time as Matthias attempts to win Carrie’s love before his dark secret chases her away.

5 thoughts on “Some Experience Required

  1. I have a bird phobia so catching a seagull would qualify as the scariest event of my life. I’m glad it was you and not me. Doing research for the sake of writing is one of those perks that pushes us to get outside the comfort zone. You are right!

  2. I’ve found myself writing in things I’ve already experienced in my life; kayaking, hiking, firing guns, falling in love. But I’ve yet to set out on a writing research extravaganza. I’ve heard of those authors who enroll in military or law enforcement training, and even scarier, interview serial killers for the sake of a story. They make me green with envy and slightly terrified to take the leap. I know my writing would be better for it. Thanks for the push and hilarious adventure story. Poor you and poor birdie!

    1. Yikes. I take my hat off to writers who can do things like that. I wouldn’t go as far as doing some “fear factor” stunt, but I often find myself seeing new activities as potential research opportunities. Sometimes that’s all the push I need to try something new!

  3. Oh the bird. I would be screaming louder than the poor seagull. I admire your adventurous spirit!

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