Lent as writing inspiration might seem odd. It’s not one of my favorite seasons. But its emphasis on self-reflection, which leads to repentance and redemption, is perfect to chart the change in a character. Or your personal growth. Below are some tips for using Lent in nonfiction and fiction.
If you observe Lent in real life by giving something up or doing something extra, journaling your experience will enrich it, or at least, help you remember it better. A few years ago, I gave up worry for Lent. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to cut down on worrying. Journaling about it each day might have enhanced it more.
Lent reminds Christians that Jesus went through a 40-day ordeal, alone, in the wilderness, before he began his ministry. Using 40 days and setting your story in the spring will mimic this time in your writing. I think setting story of loss in the spring gives it hope, making a heart-wrenching story less bleak.
- Physical challenge. A character could be stranded somewhere remote and have to fight to survive. The battle changes him for the better. Or a character could face a sudden, severe illness or injury that leads to her becoming a better person.
- Personal loss. The main character loses something integral to his or her identity — a friend or relative because of death, a partner because of divorce, a friend because of a fight, a job, a golden opportunity. After 40 days, she learns she can cope with the loss and sees hope for the future.
- Temptation. This can take two forms in your story. The temptation is something new in the life of the main character and entices him to give in to it. Or the new thing is something positive, but the temptation is to refuse it and keep the status quo.
Working on this blog has provided me with writing inspiration. Do you think you can use Lent as writing inspiration? How?
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