Tuesday, March 17, 2015

You Can Count on It: There’s No New Adversity Under the Sun by Zoe M. McCarthy

Zoe M. McCarthy

Solomon concludes: What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV

We writers are told no new plots exist—only new twists on old plots. Readers need both the element of the familiar and the freshness of the twist. For example, we write in our proposal, “This is an Invader story.” We go on to sketch out a new twist on aliens invading Earth or on pre-Columbian natives invading a nearby island.

Is it the same for the adversities that come our way? I think it is. That gives me comfort. No new adversity uncommon to man is going to rise up and strike me. Every kind of adversity has been experienced before.

When an adversity comes my way, my experience may exhibit a different twist than other peoples’ encounters with the same age-old adversity. But I can count on a wealth of people to help me ride its waves.

For example, I’m reading Gayle Roper’s A Widow’s Journey for research on my young widow in my manuscript. I’m thinking, “Women should read this before they become widows.” According to actuarial tables, widowhood is a likely adversity for women. Reading Gayle’s journal account of her journey, inspires me to:

  • Appreciate John now
  • Know where he files important papers and understand our financial matters
  • Build my dependence on the Lord
  • Make choices now to avoid regrets if I should become a widow (go happily to Wake Forest sports events)
  • Tuck away in my mind the tasks and decisions Gayle addresses
I know doing the above won’t lessen the grief I’d face, but it may make it a little easier. Maybe I won’t try to go it alone, unduly prolonging it.

Knowing what to expect helps me. Knowing that widows offer blogs, books, time, and groups comforts me.

And the best part for us fiction writers is we have a venue to help others go through our types of adversities. We know about twists on common plots, so we know others’ experiences and journeys aren’t exactly like our own. We know characters have minds of their own. We can help our characters on their journeys but we must let them be themselves. The same is true for anyone we might encourage. This inspires me as well.

Why knowing your difficulty is age-old is good for you—and others. Click to tweet.

In what ways have you used your adversities to help others?
About the Author

Zoe M. McCarthy believes the little known fact that opposites distract. Thus, she spins Christian contemporary romances entangling extreme opposites. Her tagline is: Distraction to Attraction, Magnetic Romances Between Opposites. Now retired actuaries, Zoe and her husband evaluated the financial risks for insurance companies. Nick, in Zoe’s debut novel, Calculated Risk, is an actuary. Christian Fiction Online Magazine published two of her short stories. Zoe self-published two books of contemporary Christian short stories. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She enjoys leading workshops at JoyWriters on the craft of writing; speaking about her faith; planning fun events for her 5 grandchildren; and exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she lives with her husband, John.
Learn more about Zoe M. McCarthy at her website: http://zoemmccarthy.com

Calculated Risk

Calculated Risk
by Zoe M. McCarthy
What happens when an analytical numbers man meets a mercurial marketing Rep? Romance is a calculated risk…

Jilted by the latest of her father’s choices of “real men,” Cisney Baldwin rashly accepts an invitation to spend Thanksgiving weekend with a sympathetic colleague and his family. Nick LeCrone is a man too much her opposite to interest her and too mild-mannered to make her overbearing father’s “list.” Now, Cisney fears Nick wants to take advantage of her vulnerable state over the holiday. Boy, is she wrong.

Nick wants little to do with Cisney. She drives him crazy with all her sticky notes and quirks. He extended an invitation because he felt sorry for her. Now he’s stuck, and to make matters worse, his family thinks she’s his perfect match. He’ll do what he can to keep his distance, but there’s just one problem—he’s starting to believe Cisney’s magnetism is stronger than he can resist.

Purchase links for Calculated Risk: http://zoemmccarthy.com/books


  1. Great post, Zoe! Sometimes preparation does help.

    And after helping my uncle after the death of my aunt, I'd say the same thing goes for men: he hadn't written a check in twenty years until after his wife died. I think everyone should read Gayle's book, too.

    Thanks for your post, as always, Zoe. I always look forward to your day on Seriously Write.

  2. Thanks, Angie. I'm making a list of things I want John to show me or document, and I'm making a list of things I want him to know. We'll keep the documents in our safe deposit box.

  3. Great post! Preparation is a great tool for a writer.

  4. Thanks, Terri. Yes, we writers can prepare for say rejections, to be ready to see them as growing tools or not the right time for publication or that they're not about us personally…or...

  5. No new adversary- it does offer some comfort; and though it doesn't take away the pain of what it is we are going through, we can know we will survive. Great post Zoe. And thank you for mentioning Gayle's book. I want to recommend it to a friend.

    1. Hi Diana, Thanks and you're welcome. I just finished Gayle's book. Well done. Very readable.

  6. I'm with you, Zoe, opposites definitely attract, and it DOES help to know we're in good company when we're struggling. That commonality holds us up - remember singing "No Man is an Island" in junior high? (Back when it was called that instead of middle school . . .speaking of age-old!!

    thanks for your post.



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