Marji Laine: Faith~Driven Fiction

. . . Authentic and Intense

Writing Realism



I’m a weather buff.  I openly admit that when the cumulonimbus clouds start building I get a little excited! 

I come by it naturally.  My grandfather was a fire chief in Dallas.  My mom is a first responder and storm tracker for Rowlett.  My nephew is the Emergency Management Director for his town.  Even my son and hubby think the thing to do when the storm sirens sound is to go out on the front porch and look at the sky.  (No, that’s not what you’re supposed to do!)

My favorite place during storms is in front of my laptop, analyzing the radars, storm attributes, and wind velocity, preferably while The Weather Channel is showing me some other things that I can’t access.

I watched the St. Louis tornado a month ago.  I had my map app open and was praying for the neighborhoods in the path of the storm.  What a frightening night that turned into an amazing situation when I learned that no one had died in that horrendous monster. 

Such was not the case a few days later in Alabama and other areas of the deep south.  Still, with my girls enjoying Night of the Twisters by Ivy Ruckman (which is an AMAZING children’s book at about the 5th grade level), I relished the beautiful pictures of the powerful storms, prayed for those affected, and tried to avoid the videos of the damage. 

The next week, my redhead and I enjoyed several tornado and storm-based movies together.  I gave a holler to my aunt when a tornadic super-cell was headed her way, and stayed glued to the TV (flipping between stations) to watch live feeds from some of the local helicopter reporters of rotating wall clouds, several funnels, and an amazing twister that looked exactly like an elephant’s trunk drifting down from the sky. 

I told you I was a buff.  But I’m not a buff of tragedies.  Seriously, I’m one of the .3 % that didn’t see Titanic and don’t want to!  Who needs a tear-jerking movie?  I’ll weep over a sentimental McDonald’s commercial!

Still, when my girls asked to watch the last of our storm movies last night, I had neither the inclination nor the heart to watch.  After the Joplin devastation, I can’t make myself sit and watch a storm for entertainment of all things!  It hit too close. Real people were doing regular everyday things, and now they are just gone!
Something else that hit too close to me last week was a story I read about child trafficking.  With tears streaming down my cheeks, I confess I had to scan through some of the descriptions and skip whole sections of the narrative altogether, especially when a new character who was just the age of my twins was introduced.  I know; that was just a work of fiction!  Still, the horrors I experienced reading about it weren’t anywhere near the reality that actual, young, vulnerable, innocents have to go through, even here in America, every day.

So I’m reeling a bit from the fresh sorrow of the weekend, and eye-opening realization of something about which I was totally naive!  And I can’t help but wonder why, with so much pain in this world, we feel the need to read about (or watch) more of it?  What is it about devastation and tragedy that entices us? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this!


Author: Marji Laine

Marji is a recently "graduated" homeschooling mom whose twin girls have blessed her by sticking around the nest for a little longer. She spends her days directing the children’s music program at her church and working with the authors of Write Integrity Press to put out the best possible version of their books. Raised in suburban Dallas, she got her first taste of writing through the stories of brilliant authors of their day, Mignon Eberhart and Phyllis A. Whitney, and through stage experience. After directing and acting in productions for decades, Marji started writing her own scripts. From that early beginning, she delved into creating scintillating suspense with a side of Texas sassy. She invites readers to unravel their inspiration, seeking a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s Great Mystery that invites us all.

2 thoughts on “Writing Realism

  1. >So I hear you saying that readers can experience the pain vicariously and grow along with the main characters just by watching how they persevere through the tragedy.


  2. >One reason that we as readers might enjoy fictional accounts of tragedies is that we like the romance of the tragedies without actually going through the hardships ourselves. We can witness the strugles of the characters in the stories as if from a safe distance; uninvolved and unaffected. Another reason we might like reading about such tragedies is that we can see how life continues after the tragedies are over. Not only do we witness that life in itself keeps going, but also how people's lives move on and how they pick themselves back up once the hardships have passed them. These accounts, though fictional, encourage us readers to hope, whether we realize they are doing so or not.