I owe you an apology. I’ve let my life get int he way of posting. I will try and do better, but know if I don’t, this should change next semester. So, since I owe you a TTT or two, let me see what I can find and add it here!
Sometimes, I just need to “get away from it all.” Don’t you? At home, there are so many things to distract: the laundry pile which is growing, the plants wilting, the burgeoning email list that seems never to end — and often needs replies. The TV which blasts in the next room, the interruptions of taking out garbage (or at least gathering it), picking up the mail, the newspaper on the sidewalk. The noise of the community’s gardeners with their mowers, blowers, and electric trimmers. The growing list of items “to do” which grows longer daily, no matter how much I accomplished yesterday. The “to be read . . . later . . . list” which haunts my every waking hour . . . and far too many of my sleeping hours, as well.
How about if, even once a week, I just drive away: Drive to a park. Drive to a river or stream — I even have a couple almost within walking distance. If I haven’t “made time” to write, take my computer and only the most necessary of notes, papers or research materials. If there’s been no time to read, confine my take-along to one book that I’m really anxious to read/finish. If I haven’t stolen the time to “smell the roses,” drive to a walk along the Jordan Canal, or a garden area like Thanksgiving Point or a local park — preferably of the “botanical” ilk. Once a week. Julia Cameron, in The Artist’s Way, calls that an Artist Date. And you’re only allowed to take yourself. Not your kids. Not your hubby. Not your neighbor.
Take yourself on an Artist’s Date, and feed the part of you that’s starving for want of attention!
Children seem to love stories. That’s one of the reasons we adults bother to write. Books can excite, intrigue; elicit laughing, crying or a sudden catch in the breath of surprise.
While we’re writing all those varying emotional responses, I believe we should also be teaching. (Of course I do! I’ve been a teacher for over 50 years!)
As your MC conquers his fears — or even his foes — how does he do it? Does he push the bully off the swing? Or go make friends with him? As s teen, does your MC try to find out what is troubling his now-distant, one-time friend? Or does he take his father’s gun to the school?
How does your MC treat his “enemies” after the battle is won? Does it reflect what we see in today’s headlines or on the local news? Or does it reflect the lessons s/he’s learned through reading, through the example of his parents, or other responsible adults? Maybe even a Sunday School teacher.
I hate heavy-handed “lessons” brought to fiction. Fiction should be intriguing, helpful, fun. It should not always end with “The moral is . . . ” But that doesn’t mean we can’t contribute to another way of dealing with our friends, and even our “enemies.” Who does your MC rely on? Who does s/he emulate? How does s/he solve a problem peaceably? How do you want your daughter or your son to behave in “polite company” — and especially in not such “polite” company?
Giving examples of alternate ways to handle problems should not sound like a lecture, but it could certainly employ fun — and even funny — ways to “win” and still be inclusive, kind, careful, giving, intriguing, and occasionally uproariously funny and likeable!
Lately my daughter has been requesting Pixar movies non-stop. I don’t really mind (okay, maybe I could do without the 100th viewing of Toy Story 3) because I love the Pixar version of storytelling.
I’m always clear on the motivation of each character. Every choice the characters make are the best they can make under the circumstances, and the complexity of the plot develops because of how extraordinary those circumstances become. And the dialogue is brilliant.
Basically, when I grow up I want to be as good as the writers for Pixar. I want my characters to come alive for my readers. I want them to be loved and remembered. I want to write the kind of novel that will be passed around and read again and again until it’s worn down and torn up. Too much to hope for? Maybe. But we all need something to strive for, and that’s mine. What are your goals in writing?