Lit Up with guest April McGowan on Writing Real

Lit Up! with Angela Breidenbach welcomes April McGowan on Writing Realhow to draw on our own experiences/family experiences /friend experiences (without being apparent) and embed them into our stories to create real-to-life story people that connect with our readers. 

Books mentioned:

Hold the Light

A Healing Heart

Jasmine - link to book trailer

Book in progress:  Sarah's Song - her grandma's life fictionally

Writing Conference mentioned:

Oregon Christian Writers - Aug. 15-18, April is mentoring there.

A few notes from this episode on how to delve into family and friends for inspiration in your storytelling.

Be sure to listen closely for the details. Handouts are available for April's teaching at the bottom of this page: 

What they can change

what they can't change

what I pray for them about

character sheets/eye color, hair color.

What are they battling?

What are they passionate about?

What do they fear?

Think about joys you've experienced.

Think about what has overwhelmed or crushed you or someone you love.

What has turned them away from the Lord?

What draws you into real misery or despondancy?

We face those difficult things, it helps us find common roots.

Bad childhood, forced into a field they hated, good student, great or bad family life...

Teen years, what really hurt them or what one thing are they really proud of?

Adult years: Do they love or hate being married? Want kids or couldn't have kids?

Is their friend loyal or someone they shouldn't be with?

Who did she think she should be and how does she come to terms with that?

The one thing they wish God would just take care of in their life so they could move on.

Do they disregard God or feel like they need to be close?

Is God a genie in the sky to them?

Personality traits: Negative Thesaurus, Emotional Thesaurus - for brainstorming.

Are they an introvert or extrovert?

Pessimistic or Optomistic?

Make the character suffer and uncomfortable.

Common joys/birth, marriages, overcoming addictions or barriers so you can cheer with them.

What has changed you the most? Jot it down.

Effects of Trauma and Physical Issues Chart: 

Effects of Trauma diagram

Try to sum up a character in one word (as if you're judging) Oh they're an over-achiever...

How to change a character to be different than the real person: never use ALL their traits. (Be sure to honor them and your relationship with them.) Write the character using different physicality, focus on the feelings and not the physical, where are they successful and where did they fail?

"You really appreciate people when you understand the battles they fought." - April McGowan

About April McGowan:

April McGowan loves to write inspirational fiction. She, her husband, and two teens live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. April is an award-winning author and member of Oregon Christian Writers and American Christian Fiction Writers. When she's not writing, reading down her book list, homeschooling her son, chasing her kitten, Saoirse, or playing board games, you might find her at her drum kit, imagining she's on a world tour. Hey, it could happen.

~Stories of hope, courage, and inspiration~
Visit my website
Follow me on Twitter at!/AprilKMcGowan
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Pin with me on Pinterest at
Watch the Jasmine book trailer at

Handouts for Writing Real:

Writing Real page 1

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