Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Day Our House Flooded by Sally Shupe

Welcome to October! This month is the 2-year anniversary of our house being flooded, from the inside, by a dog that wasn’t ours. Sound unbelievable? It really happened.

How do we make our stories believable? We research, we interview, we live through it. When I came home and found water flowing down my steps from the upstairs bathroom to the living room, I put my hands on my face, wandered around, and said over and over, “I don’t know what to do.”, “I don’t know what to do”. It’s what I did when I continued walking through the house and heard a rain forest in the kitchen. The water ran from the ceiling, in lines, dripping off the cabinets, off the door jamb, pouring out of the light socket hanging from the ceiling with water inches deep on the floor. I now know that when the heroine puts her hands up to her face and wanders around in the mess saying over and over again, “I don’t know what to do.”, “I don’t know what to do.”, that is a real reaction. Before, I thought it was over the top acting. Nope.

And what of the dog? His name is George. He’s a beagle. (If you have one, please make sure you have accidental water damage coverage on your home owner’s insurance!) All I remember of him from that day is his eye and ear from where he sat in the bathroom window after he’d jumped on the sink, turned the water on, knocked stuff off the sink into the sink, clogging the hole, causing the water to run over, flood the bathroom, out into the hallway and down the steps to the living room, to going through the floor to the kitchen underneath, and through that floor into the basement. Where that dog went after I saw him in the window, I have no idea. My daughter tells me he was downstairs when she came home, running around beside me. I now know that sometimes you only remember certain things, even when you’ve experienced the whole event.

I have put my notes together of this time and want to put it into a book. Unbelievable things happened. The day after the flood, God showed me this scripture: Deuteronomy 4:32-40. During this process, God gave me songs and signs to show me it was going to be okay. For instance, I love snow. I love woolly worms. Especially the black ones, because they indicate a snowy winter. I usually only see a handful a season. After this happened, I saw so many black woolly worms, a handful a day. Our apple tree fell after Service Master dried the house out. The tree took down our power line to the house. In the midst of all our chaos, we had to upgrade the power. We had been thinking about getting someone to cut the tree down. Now we didn’t have to, and it was free. After the power was turned off, it took about a week to get it upgraded. We went to stay at a motel. I love the red leaves. Every morning, the parking lot would be covered with them. Would any of this be believable? And there’s so much more.

Have any of your experiences made it into a book? Did readers think they were unbelievable, but you knew for a fact they were real because you lived them? Have you read unbelievable scenes in a story and wondered how that could possibly have happened? Please share!

Sally Shupe lives in southwest Virginia with her husband, two grown kids-a daughter still at home and a son nearby, and a whole bunch of pets: five dogs, three cats, a rabbit, and birds at the birdfeeder (and the mandatory snowman when the snow cooperates). She writes contemporary Christian romance, with two completed manuscripts and three more in progress. They are part of a series located in small town Virginia.

When Sally’s not writing or working full-time, she is a freelance editor for several authors who write fiction and nonfiction; students working on dissertation papers; a copy editor for Desert Breeze; a content editor for Prism (became part of Pelican); performs beta reading for various authors; publishes book reviews on her blog and with Valley Business FRONT’s monthly magazine; is a member of ACFW and a PRO member of RWA; loves genealogy, running, and crocheting.

Sally uses her love of words to write about God’s amazing love.

Connect with Sally:Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sallyshupewritings/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SallyShupe1
Blog: http://sallyshupe.blogspot.com/
Email: sallyshupe1@gmail.com
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sallyshupe1/
Website: http://sallyshupeseditingservice.weebly.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sally-schreiner-shupe-8217a639?trk=hp-identity-name

17 comments:

  1. Such a great story, Sally. I remember when you were going through this and it was anything but great. What an opportunity for a wonderful book idea, though. I know we're supposed to stay away from cliches, but as the saying goes, "Truth is stranger than fiction" and the old "You can't make this stuff up" line. Go for it, girlfriend. I can't wait to read that book!

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    1. Thank you so much, Cindy! We say this a lot in church, "You can't make this stuff up." Things happen, God moves. I can't wait to read this book too! Once I get done with the one I'm working on...

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  2. Oh, Sally, I remember when your flood happened! Yes, a dog causing such a catastrophe would be unbelievable, but the unbelievable does happen. You will write this scenario with true emotions. You're right about our memories during traumatic events. Some are crystal clear. Others are completely forgotten.

    I have included an unbelievable event in my manuscript. My husband was trapped in an underground coal mine for twenty hours. In my historical novel, the hero gets trapped in a mine. I'm working to include my emotions so my heroine's reactions are real, but it is difficult to relive the experience in order to get the words just right. But that's what authentic writing involves.

    I'll be watching for your story. Thanks for your thoughts encouraging us to include the real events and true emotions.

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    1. Sherida, "write this scenario with true emotions"-so true! That's just what authentic writing is. I could't imagine being able to write about being trapped in a mine. I'm sure that brings back all those feelings you had while it was happening. But the readers will be able to feel it as well. I think it's time for the flood story. I've just started being able to look at it from a different perspective, not stuck in it trying to get through it. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. I also remember when this happened to you, Sally - - when you shared it with a group of us, my heart was burdened for you. What a mess! But it's those unbelievable messes that can add to our writing, so no experience is wasted.

    I'm glad you had some little blessings after that happened (the red leaves and wooly worms!). You seem to have such a great attitude.

    Thank you so much for sharing this!
    Hugs, Patti Jo

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    1. Patti Jo, this was a nightmare going through it! But so true, no experience is wasted when it comes to writing. Thanks, Patti Jo!

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  4. What an experience! Yes, we had a beagle named Buddy Beagle. He was always into some kind of mishap. We miss him very much. He was not a watch dog. He would hide and peek out to see who was knocking at the front door. Yes, my fear of lizards inspired my children's book, "Licky the Lizard". :-)

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    1. Melissa, thanks for commenting! This same beagle is known to chew through cords, even a seatbelt! But he's so lovable and cute. Lucky for him lol. And I'm really glad he isn't mine. But I'll see him sometimes and give him a pat. I love how your fear turned into a book. That's awesome! I'll have to check that one out.

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  5. Oh, what a nightmare! I love how God showed up in grace and beauty while your property was cleaned up. It's challenging for readers to believe what we know is true sometimes. That can make writers feel defensive. But there's assurance in simply knowing it's true because we lived it. Write on, friend! And here's to no more floods!

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    1. What I wrote above, isn't half of what God showed through this flood. It was amazing. Some things it's taken until now to process. I agree, just knowing what we're writing is true is enough. The people who came with the machines to dry the house out never batted an eye. They've heard it all lol. We changed sink handles after this incident.

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  6. Wow, that does sound almost too unbelievable!

    I had a nonbeliever read my first novel about a conservative Christian college and how they strong-armed my character, demoting her for such a thing as going to a movie theater. He couldn't believe anyone would do such a thing.

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    1. Lila, thanks for stopping by and commenting! Yes, it's the unbelievable things that draws the reader into the story and makes our stories memorable.

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  7. I remember hearing about this - such an incredible story. I love how you find the positive in everything. Thank you so much for sharing!

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    1. Laura, thanks for stopping by! I spent most of the time in shock, but was able to write down my thoughts at the time so now I can go back to them.

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  8. Perfect fodder for a great story. But in real life - ouch!

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    1. Terri! Yes, but oh my, at the time! Not fun! At one point, I wanted to quit the process lol.

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  9. Your story has helped me as a reader. I have read events like your's and thought oh my goodness what an imagination! In no way could this have happened. Thank you for sharing that all fiction, no matter how crazy, isn't necessarily faction.

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