Never give up! Never surrender!

June is truly bustin’ out all over. (Bonus points if you can name that musical) Here in Tacoma, Washington, we’re enjoying intermittent spurts of lovely summer weather, punctuated by bouts of drizzle.

Tacoma’s Chinese Reconciliation Park

Once again, we welcome a new month with a blog hop from the Insecure Writers’ Support Group. Here’s their mission statement and a link, should you care to join the conversation. Please do!

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

Thank you to this month’s co-hosts, JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner!

June 7th IWSG Day Question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing? My answer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fdcIwHKd_s

Seriously, I’ve never given up writing, though I have put a project on the back burner when my daily life became overstuffed with job/family demands. Speaking of…

In a recent online discussion over at the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, (another fine group I highly recommend to writers in that genre), some wise writer said, “We’re all just working out our own stuff.”

So, I have this protagonist named Lola. She’s fifty-five, and is my fictional role model. At least, that’s how she began. But a gleaming, perfect role model isn’t as interesting to read about as someone with problems—lots of relatable, complicated problems, with roots deep in her past.

I’ve recently worked my way through Lisa Cron’s game-changing craft book Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel. Her main point: Story is not about what happens, it’ about what those events mean to the protagonist, and how they cause her to change.

I’m using Cron’s techniques to rework a half-completed novel, and it’s coming together in ways that have eluded me until now. I can now see a steady march of cause and effect based on Lola’s inner conflict in the story. Huzzah!

But in digging into Lola’s past and her mistaken beliefs, I’m seeing unsettling parallels to my own, ahem, issues. Up until now, I’ve believed that Lola was connected to me only by a few superficial details: hair shade, retired teacher, love of belly dancing, artistic pursuits. But in creating a more fleshed-out inner conflict for her, I’m having epiphany after epiphany.

For example: Lola has not spent as much time as she’d like on her artistic pursuits, and she’s blamed the demands of job and family. Of course, this leads to resentment about those demands. Zounds, that’s me!

Writing is therapeutic, but until this experience I’ve thought of that truth mostly in terms of writing in a journal, or creative non-fiction. It turns out that I’ve actually been processing lots of my own internal conflicts via my fiction.

Well, duh! I don’t call myself a late-blooming rose for nothing. Do you see reflections of yourself in your fictional characters?

 

6 thoughts on “Never give up! Never surrender!

  1. Stephanie Faris

    You SAVED me!!! Somehow IWSG fell off my schedule this month and I didn’t even have a post, but seeing yours early reminded me I’d forgotten. So I’m writing it up now. Thank you!!!

    Honestly, I may have quit trying to get published, but I never quit writing. And I never will. Even if we just write for ourselves, there’s beauty in putting words on the page.

    Reply
  2. Olga Godim

    I discovered this too: my characters reflect myself. When I started writing, I set out to make them different: better than I’m. Smarter. Braver. And they are, but they also have many character traits I don’t like in myself very much. I can’t change that. My heroes and heroines react to events the same way I might have, if I was a braver and smarter version of me. Their logic and reasoning are mine. And it doesn’t matter that I write fantasy with magic, which doesn’t exist in my real life. My heroes are me, a self-portrait in words, and not a very flattering one, whether I like it or not.

    Reply
  3. Lee

    I don’t know about the musical, but the post title is from Galaxy Quest, a fun, fun movie! I definitely put bits of my “self” in my main character, especially the inner conflict stuff. I guess that goes along with the “what I know” part. But I also like to give her experiences that didn’t come my way or that I let pass by.

    Reply

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