When truth is stranger than fiction

I’m going to tell you a story:

Our Old English sheepdog reached the end of her days last August. We missed her so much that after a while of dogless walks and over-quiet evenings, we decided we would think about having another, smaller canine friend. For more than six months we searched for a rescue dog that would be good with children and used to a cat - all to no avail.

After prayer, we considered a puppy. Puppies are hard work for anyone, but particularly for seniors. And some breeders are less reputable than others. So I started laying down conditions to see if that is what God intended us to do. No fleeces were involved, but I did have a checklist:

     Must be within our rather low budget

     The breeder must be relatively local

     He/she must be licensed

     The pup must be vet checked, vaccinated and microchipped

     We must be able to see the mother/siblings

     Preferably the pup would be a goldendoodle, perhaps a cockerpoo or labradoodle (I have asthma) 

Within a week or two, there was a litter of Goldendoodles advertised, by a breeder near Mildenhall. All the other conditions were met. We arranged to go to see the pups. But I prayed - ‘Lord, are we really doing your will? Please show me in some way when we go to see the puppies.’

Over lunch, before we went, we discussed names. I said, ‘I really want to call her “Flossie”.’ I surprised myself a bit because although I thought it was a good name for a doodle, until that moment I hadn’t felt strongly about it.

The breeder was lovely and very efficient. The puppies were well-kept, she was eager to talk about them, offer advice and described the information and extras, like a supply of food and a small cloth smelling of her mother, that would accompany the pup. The scruffiest, fluffiest female was the one that seemed to like us and we liked her. It all seemed to be falling into place, but, where was that assurance I needed? Then I asked what any prospective buyer would want to know, 

‘Does this puppy have a name?’

‘I don’t give puppies names, I try not to get too close to them. But my daughter did give this one a name.’

‘What  is it?’

‘She called her “Flossie”.’

Needless to say, Flossie is now our puppy.

So, my question to you is - if you read something similar in a novel, would you think it too far-fetched to be true? If you were not a Christian, would you feel the same?

It is a very fine line between truth and fiction for writers. I am working on a YA novel that has a near conversion scene in it. Am I right to portray something that hasn’t happened - even something spiritual? I know it could have happened in the way I describe because of my own experience and through seeing change in others.

I pray that my fiction may encourage curiosity among those who read my books, to find out if such God experiences could happen, and happen to them.

Annie Try is the author of four novels, the most recent three having been published by Instant Apostle. She loves teaching others about writing and speaking to small groups.



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