Ann Dee and I are teaching together on Saturday at an event that’s raising money to buy bookshelves for the Rick Walton Library in St George. $99 buys you a small 2.5 hour class with two writing teachers, keynote addresses from Shannon Hale and Ally Condie plus other stuff.
There might be room left, if you are interested.
One thing that I love to do when I’m depressed is to make my characters miserable.
It’s important for characters to be miserable. Their lives should be filled with problems that seem like they can never be fixed. Readers need to be worried, terrified even, that we’re going to kill off (or at least seriously maim) someone they’ve grown to love.
The reason it makes me feel better is that I have the larger perspective. This misery that I’m putting my character through isn’t going to last forever. Maybe there will be some lasting damage, sure. But overall, it’s going to be okay. I know that the cavalry is riding in at breakneck speed. I know the misunderstandings that led to the problem sounding worse than it really is. And most importantly, I know that in the end the character will be at peace. I love my characters more than any reader ever will, and I won’t let them down. I will always make sure they get the ending they were always meant to have, even if it’s not the perfect one that they envisioned.
Doing this soothes me. My life isn’t perfect. Most of the time, it’s a mess. But that’s okay. Because like my characters, I’m not at the end of my story. And I trust that at the end of my story, there will be a resolution. Not a perfect one, to be sure, but a resolution nonetheless.
And from our new writer, LoriAnne
I’ll introduce myself (I almost wrote “briefly” right here, but that would be an adverb – aka badverb), and it would also be a lie, since I’m concise-writing challenged. Carol can attest.
Still, before I commence throwing up my words, my name is LoriAnne Spear, but most of my friends and family call me Lori. I am a writer, as yet unpublished in fiction, but I’m working on it. I have three YA projects. Still a writer, nonetheless. How do I know? How did you know? Here’s a weird habit I developed as a teenager that revealed to me that I needed to write.
I didn’t just notice things around me about my day, or my surroundings. I observed them in my head as if I were writing a description. Even if they were mundane. For instance:
“Cocooned with a book in her bedroom at the top of the stairs, Lori heard the front door open, then close. Mom was home. Click, click, click, echoed her mother’s heels on the entry hall tile as she strode into the kitchen. She heard a sigh, then the dropping of a purse and keys on the kitchen table.
The dishes were still in the sink.
Lori sat up on her bed, and put aside her book. Her sigh echoed her mother’s.”
I didn’t do this constantly, but often enough. I don’t know if this is a weird form of psychosis or not. I don’t intend on Googling it to find out.
Does anyone else do this? I still do. Sometimes it’s when I see gorgeous scenery, or if I’m in an tense conversation, or if I see a particularly cute gesture from my grandson. It’s as if I’m outside my body observing things, and yet inside my head taking note of thoughts and feelings. Sometimes it peps things up, other times it just confirms that it’s a boring day. Regardless ,it helps me be present in that moment.
If you don’t do this spontaneously in your life, give it a try.
See what you notice – smells, sounds, colors. This is much like Cheryl’s five senses exercise from last Thursday.
Write the scene in your head as it unfolds in real time – as you fold laundry, eat lunch and people watch, talk with your teenager – (that’s fun for all) and then as soon as you can that day, write in your notebook, your laptop, whatever.
It’s a good way to practice observing details, and also remembering those details that capture a scene with authenticity.