Looking at my work in progress with new eyes.
Back in November I attended the WU UnCon in Salem and, I’m not surprised to say, I came away feeling like my head was filled with those little pieces that flit and float about in a shaken snow globe. It’s taken months for them to settle.
They dust the ground of my imaginary world. They settle on the rooftops of my townships; the flora and fauna of my making. My cast of charaacters, all of them, wear cloaks of shimmering white. It’s in their hair and on the end of their noses.
Each of those dazzling fragments are snippets of wisdom I jotted down on index cards. Wisdom from each of the presenters I had the pleasure of listening to, and in some cases, got to spend time with.
Prior to leaving for Salem, I bought the Kindle version of Lisa Cron’s latest book, Story Genius. Whilst in Salem, I bought the hard copy. All right, I admit to a fan-girl moment when she signed my copy. Lisa is an extraordinary, animated, delightful and warm woman. Her sessions resonated with me, and working through Story Genius, I dove into my work in progress, particularly my protagonist’s origin story and major life events, these past months.
What a rich experience!
As I worked through the exercises, digging, digging, writing in deep first person point of view, cringing along with my protagonist, feeling her pain when her world view was spun on its head. I learned things about her hitherto unknown to me.
Now, the task is to write the origin story for each of my main characters. All will be equally profound, I’m sure.
I hear wiser ones words, “Each character believes they are the protagonist.” “Each character has their story to tell.” And, on, and on.
So, it’s up to me to discover what their stories are, and how they fit into the world with my protagonist.
This isn’t rocket science. What it is, I think, is understanding that like our characters, we all have our stories. We all have that moment in time when our worldview, our belief in something, or someone, changed. Usually, when we were a child.
It’s uncomfortable rooting around down there. It’s dark and filled with creepy crawlies, but it’s what makes each of us unique and well worth knowing – don’t you agree?
How are you doing on your novel? What are you discovering about your characters?
Photo from: Greenhead finds cool new stuff.