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Anniversaries – Powerful in Life, Powerful in Books

We all experience anniversaries, dates that come around every year. In fact, we are born with one! Our birthday. Anniversaries fall into two main categories: celebratory and remembrance.

Celebratory anniversaries are easy to spot: birthdays, wedding anniversaries, adoption days, first kiss date, day your book releases…

Remembrance anniversaries are trickier. We’ve all had days we don’t want to ever relive, and yet we don’t necessarily want to forget them.

When I was diagnosed with cancer on April 4th, 2011, the date became very important to me. Mentally, I split every picture that I see of me and my family in the past into “before” and “after” the diagnosis. Each year I celebrate the day I found out I had a battle to fight, because each year I am thrilled to tears that I’m still alive to love my family. I go through my box of hundreds of cards I received over 15 months of chemo. I sit quietly to honor the time when I couldn’t walk with all the meds battling within me. I hug my kids longer, loving the fact that the farther away from the year I was diagnosed, the easier it is for my kids to forget that awful time.

The Battling McCollums

So, remembrance anniversaries swing both ways, happy and sad. The initial event is full of shock, sorrow, and even devastation. But as the years go by, flowers can grow up through the cracks of our shattered lives. We must still honor those anniversaries, but also embrace the happy memories and positive things that grow out of them.

This not only works in our lives, but also in our characters’ lives. In my book, A PROTECTOR IN THE HIGHLANDS, which releases TODAY (woot!), the heroine, Scarlet Worthington, has survived a terrible event that occurred on St. Valentine’s Day. In the following book in the series (which I just turned into my editor), King Charles II has been buried on St. Valentine’s Day, which is true to history. Although it is not spelled out for my readers, the anniversary significance will not be lost on Scarlet.

Anniversaries are powerful. In real life, we should honor them, even if they are not celebratory, even if we do it alone in hushed reflection. Our unconscious will likely mourn even if we try to forget, so I find it better psychologically to acknowledge the event and remember any positiveness that came from it. It’s a good day to cuddle up with those we love, eat our favorite comfort foods, and watch happy movies.

In our books, anniversaries can also create powerful motivation, conflict, and character growth. Whether it’s a one-month anniversary of a kiss, a five-year anniversary of a divorce, or a fortieth anniversary of a psycho killer named Michael stalking and killing all their friends, anniversaries will affect your characters in powerful ways. Keep them in mind when creating your characters to give them depth.

BTW – today is not only my book birthday, but it is also my 24th wedding anniversary!

26 November 1994

Releasing 26 November 2018

 

Do you have any anniversaries coming up?

 

The Latest Comments

  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: Great ideas to embrace seasonal ways to connect, Heather. 🙂
  • Darynda Jones: What great ideas, Heather! Thanks for these tips!
  • Heather McCollum: Thanks, Barbra, I’m a tea lover, not just the drink but the all the cups, hats,...
  • Barbra: I love the Mother’s Day Tea idea
  • Heather McCollum: Awww! You are so sweet, Elizabeth! It’s been fun getting to know these awesome authors. The...

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