Writing Saturday; Using real life in your books

7:53 AM

One of the ways for a book to feel real and have some lighter moments is to

take some things from real life and put them into your writing. Here are a few bits and pieces from some of my books to give you an idea what I am talking about.

“Ow! Richard, stop pulling on my dress,” Christy said to her older brother.

“I was just playing,” Richard said, feigning innocence.

“Are all of these your children,” one of the older male passengers asked Stephen. Maria sat still in her seat, and for one small instant wished that she wouldn’t be seen as part of the family.

“Yes they are,” Stephen said proudly. That was one thing that she liked about her dad – he never was ashamed to be their father, or at least didn’t show it, even when they weren’t on their best behavior.

“Sure hope they know how to be quiet,” he responded rather rudely.
Great, Maria thought. I am going to have to spend the entire flight trying not to breathe too hard so I won’t offend Mr. Sour.


“Leah, look at your dress. I told you that you ought to go to your house and change. Now it’s stained red from the dirt,” Anna, said to her ten-year-old cousin. Leah looked down at her red stain and then looked back up at Anna her eyes pleading.

“Anna, do you think you can get it out? Mommy won’t be happy if she sees it.”

“Well, she is going to see, but I will try to get it out for you. Bring it to me later today, and I will see what I can do,” Anna replied.

Maria smiled. Anna, Maria’s seventeen year old younger sister, hated to see anyone get in trouble, especially when they had been having a good time.


Maria went to the kitchen where the phone should have been, but it wasn’t there. It took a big search on her part to find the phone, which she finally found by paging it. It was under a pile of clothes in Daniel’s room with a sticky note on it that read with a poor hand:

Dangerous, if you touch will explode

“What in the galaxy was Daniel do…? No, no I don’t even want to know,” Maria said aloud to herself as she picked it up and dialed the number.


As you can see I took situations and incidents that happen in real life and used them to give my book humor and a realistic feeling. Do you have any examples that you would like to share?

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  1. Those were some great examples Sarah! =:D As a reader, I love it when I have some of the same circumstances as the characters. I like being able to relater to them. If that is missing, the book tends to be boring I think. =;) It sounds like your books would be filled with funny moments! =:)


  2. Hey Sarah!
    Great post and those were awesome examples you used :) I was going through my novel and couldn't figure out an example, until I came across this one. To me it's real life because we all know what that guilt feels like when we get caught doing something, and I added some subtle humor through the dialogue. Just so you know, I haven't edited this yet, so it still needs work! And the formatting may haven't gotten messed up a little...oops! :0

    Slow footsteps pounded the cold cement floor, and I held my breath, as if it would make me invisible. I wanted to cry when the person sat next to me on the bench and cleared his throat, waiting for me to look up. I sighed and raised my head.

    “H-hi, Drew. I didn’t see you. I was, uh, tying my shoes.” Drew crossed his arms, and looked down at me with a knowing expression. “You’re wearing flip-flops.” I swallowed. “Oh, y-yeah. I forgot. Um, what are you doing here?” I asked casually. “Oh, I was working late in my office, and when I was walking out, I noticed that there was a light on in here. What are you doing here?”

    I racked my brain for a legitimate excuse, before blurting out the first one that popped in my mind. “I was looking for the bathroom.” Drew’s eyes darkened with disbelief. “The one in your room isn’t working?” Oh, brilliant, Chloe.

    “No, it’s working, but there was s-somebody in there.” I lied. I felt like a feminine version of Pinocchio. Any moment now and my nose would be several inches longer.

    Drew looked at me suspiciously. “OK, so let’s say your story is true. If you had to go to the restroom, why are you in the chapel?” I bit my lip. “Well, um, it was dark in the hallways, you see. And I thought this was the bathroom, so I just walked in, and then-” Drew cut me off. “Chloe.” That simple word was drawn out so long and dripped so much with doubt, I knew my lies hadn’t gotten past Drew’s principal radar.

    I tilted my chin defiantly. “What?” He shook his head, and looked at me pityingly. “You’re a horrible liar, you know that?”

    I leaned my head back on the hard pew and felt the solid wood digging into my scull. “Well, I don’t have much practice in that area.” I muttered, admitting defeat. I could feel Drew’s eyes studying my profile. “So why are you really here?” He said softly.

    LOL, I guess it helps if you're familiar with the story, but I always smile when I read this scene :)

  3. Yes, those things would certainly happen in real life.=) Good illustrations.