I’m sure all of you have heard about the passing of Prince last week. I’ve long been a Prince fan, so I was deeply impacted by his passing. Not because I knew him personally, but because his music had affected my life in many ways through the years. A few of his songs are still my ‘go-to’ songs when I’m feeling down and need to lift my spirits.
As I tried to get back into my WIP on Thursday, my mind was still distracted by the news. Then I suddenly realized that I was at the perfect spot in the story to pay tribute to Prince. Here’s a snapshot:
I love that I was able to capture this moment in my work. It then made me think about other hidden gems I’ve been able to incorporate into my novels. As I started thinking through them, there are quite a few.
Why am I a fan of hidden gems in my work? I guess it’s because I view it as a way of leaving a bit of myself inside the fictional story I’m creating. Even if only a few people pick up on them, I know they’re there. Some gems represent special moments from my own life, while others are like coded messages to friends/family. Then there are a few that are specific to my writing for one reason or another.
Here are just a few examples of my hidden gems:
Sarah’s son’s favorite stuffed dog, Max, is a direct inspiration from my daughter’s favorite stuffed dog (although hers has a different name and sometimes wears a pink tutu).
Wuthering Heights was the first book I remember having a huge impact on me, and it plays an important role in Shattered Angel.
Whispers is a character who makes a brief appearance in Shattered Angel. His name is a nod to a friend who thinks he’s my muse.
As mentioned above, I’ve incorporated Prince into my current WIP. In addition to that, my two primary characters meet during a ‘constant, steady rain’. This is a tribute to my book club. They’ll get it :)
In my first book, Kingston’s Project, I used the number 113 for my primary character’s weight. In a later book, I subconsciously used that same number for a hotel room. I didn’t realize I’d used the same number until my edits. I now consider 113 my book number.
If I plan to drop any f-bombs in a book, I use a specific number. Again, this was something that started out unintentionally, but now I do it on purpose. I’ll keep the reason to myself—a bit of mystery is a good thing.
Adding hidden gems in your work is not only a great way to give something special to your readers (at least those who are paying attention), but it’s also a great way to pay tribute to things that are important in your life.
However, it’s critical that you don’t try to force a hidden gem into your work. It has to become a seamless part of the story. I have a friend who would like for me to incorporate something we call Sally into one of my books. I love the idea, but it has to be right. So for now Sally hasn’t made an appearance, but I hope to find the right moment in one of my future books.
What gems are hidden inside your novels?