Wednesday, July 12, 2017

By Elizabeth Ludwig 

I was in Michigan recently attending the graduation ceremony of a much beloved nephew. While there, I got to see one of nature’s most amazing miracles…the hatching of a robin’s egg. Those little critters sure are ugly when they’re born! Still, there’s something magical about witnessing the struggle and determination this tiny life displays as it pecks and pokes and pries its way free of its shell. Unfortunately, not everyone was happy about my standing by while it happened. 

I tried to be respectful of Momma Bird as I peeked around the corner of my parents’ garage for a glimpse of the new hatchlings. I even used my strongest zoom lens so I didn’t have to get too close to the nest. Still, Daddy Bird was rather violently opposed to the attention I was giving to his little family. At first, he just chirped and squawked to let me know he wanted me to mosey on my way. When that didn’t work, he flew down off his high branch in the trees and landed several feet away. Then he hopped a few feet closer…then a few more feet. Finally, this three-inch robin stood mere feet away, his beady little eyes fixed on me as though sizing me up for a fight. 

This struck me as kind of funny at first. After all, this was a robin. He probably only weighs a couple of ounces, yet this feisty little hero stuck out his chest and raised his voice until he caught my attention. Then, in a show of bravado, he flapped his wings at me, and rather aggressively, I might add. With visions of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie in my head, I quickly snapped my picture and moved away! 

Now, all of this got me to thinking. What was it about this brave little bird that I could apply to my literary heroes? 

 First, I admired his courage. Despite the odds, he was willing to plunge headlong into a fight he knew he could not win. Second, with no concern for his own well-being, this tiny hero stepped between me and his family, and when that didn’t work, he provided the diversion his mate needed to fly to safety. And finally, it was his persistence, his dogged determination to stay with the battle that impressed me the most. All of these things made for a character, albeit tiny, that I could root for, and even admire. 

 I have to think that applying the same traits to the leading men in my novels would also make them exciting, admirable, and without a doubt, swoon-worthy. What do you think? 

Elizabeth Ludwig is an accomplished speaker and teacher, often attending conferences where she lectures on crafting effective novel proposals and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Her latest releases include Home Sweet Sugarcreek and A Tempting Taste of Mystery, part of the SUGARCREEK AMISH MYSTERIES series from Guideposts. Along with her husband, she makes her home in the great state of Texas. To learn more, visit


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