[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]
Thank you so much! And thank you founder Alex J. Cavanaugh!
As a reader, character driven stories draw me instantly. Some of my favorite authors show me the person at a rapid and believable pace. As a writer, I spend my energy first on the character and all those characters who build her story. I mention her for a reason. Being a woman, I’ve narrowed my focus and choose females as my leading characters since it’s what I know very well. I never expected to write a successful story as a man.
This month’s IWSG questions asks: “Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? (For example, by trying a new genre you didn’t think you’d be comfortable in?)
My answer is yes to both parts with “The Wheat Witch” in the Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life Anthology. Two things were different actually. First, I wrote the story as adult fiction/fantasy, and secondly, I choose a man as my hero.
I LOVE the Young Adult genre, especially fantasy. My initial brainstorm in “The Wheat Witch” involved two separate directions for the theme. One with a young teen boy going through the physical change of leaving the farm and losing the power, then the story quickly spiraled beyond the limits of 5,000 words. I came up with second premise about the older, retired gentleman reflecting on the damage he’d done to himself because of who he left behind transpired.
What helped shift my focus? What tips do I have to offer?
- Interview someone who could be a potential character in your book, your M.C.
I Interviewed my father to gain insight into his life on my grandfather’s farm.
- What do you know about the topic? Brainstorm.
I channeled my own memories of growing up in the summers with my grandparents for a couple of weeks, feeding a baby calf, harvesting the vegetables from the garden, running through the hay bales and spending hours in the fields, mostly building forts or tagging along with my grandma. Those moments are still alive in me from the feel of the sun, or the site of a moonless and star filled sky.
- Listen to dialogue and ask others who might be the experts, how they describe images.
I paid careful attention to the words my father used as he talked. I spent a great deal of time discussing words and asking my partner to help come up with different ways to describe phrases.
Of course, I had a really great writing partner help me clean up a few scenes.
Did I write well like a man? I’d certainly like to think I did a decent job. I’m not quite sure I’ll try it again, but that’s always been my style. When something scares you, you have to at least try it once so you can reflect and either swear it off, or quite possibly decide it was better than you believed it would ever be and you’ll consider taking the risk again.
How about you? What have you tried recently you never thought you would?
Fridays are all about celebrating the Small Things thanks to a weekly blog hop created by author Lexa Cain. Joint co-hosts this week are authors L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog The mission coincides with what I’m hoping to do with my own writing, inspire and focus on the light when those slippery shadows creep around our shoes. Want to sign up? Click Lexa Cain’s link to find out more.
I am a believer in integrity.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve known I see the world in bright, justly colors. I’ve known I strive to find the truth in all things: from the littlest dandelion growing in the yard, defending a poor little slug which the neighbor kid tried to destroy with salt, to friends I’ve met along the way who struggled with the truth and couldn’t sing it as it should have been. I believe in the truth and I try to give people the benefit of the doubt in telling it. I’m not perfect. No one is. I’ve withheld it myself in fear from time to time, and then I’ve faced the consequences as bravely as I could have. I think the importance in truth, integrity and living an honest life, is knowing who we are on the inside. It’s believing in that, and surrounding ourselves with those who believe in us, too.
This week I’m celebrating integrity and the growth in facing it. I’m celebrating the state of mind we need to be in, in order to create a safe place to discuss the truth.
As a mother, I’ve been working to teach my kids this week the importance of following our hearts instead of being followers of the fun thing to do. With the first week of school down, challenges erupt in meeting new friends; friends who aren’t always like us. Ultimately, we all have our own truths. We all want respect. We certainly all love someone and we must respect this love and the uniqueness of each soul we meet along the way.
As a writer, I’m working on a character with strong integrity who will have it challenged every step of her journey. She’ll have to face two difficult truths and weigh the impact of each, eventually forced to pick one.
As myself, a woman who sees the world in bright, justly colors, I’m celebrating following my own heart. I’m proud of every small progressive footstep and will continue to embrace the thought that eventually hard honest work will pay off.
Ultimately, in teaching truth and respect the important thing I’ve learned is:
How about you? What are you celebrating this week?