Tag Archives: Writing

Worth Fighting For

Recently, a good friend asked me an interesting question.

What is worth fighting for?

Then he asked:

What would you fight for till your last breath, with all your strength?

We all have needs.  It’s a fact of life.  When studying for my nursing licensure test, I was instructed to always focus on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs.  According to some healthcare professionals, here’s our list of needs, in their order of importance.

Image

But sometimes, we don’t stop to think about what we find most important.

During my orientation at my first nursing job, we had an activity that reinforced this idea in a way I will never forget.

We were given 6 slips of paper and told to write what we find most important, whether it be relationships, identifications, or physical goods.  For me, my slips included my family, my beliefs, my career, my home, colors and music.

Feel free to write your own top 6 as well.

Then we were instructed to fold the slips and mix them up.  After selecting one random slip, our instructor told us that we could no longer have whatever was on that slip.

How do you feel?

I remember the first slip was my family.  It was almost impossible to imagine life without something so important to me.  We continued the exercise until we were left with only two slips.  This exercise was used to help us understand the frame of mind of older adults moving into a care facility, but I think it’s something worth thinking about in everyday life.

As readers, I think we like to follow characters who always come back fighting.  It may be my personal response to respond to loss by crying in the corner, but who wants to read about that?  It might be okay in the beginning of the journey, to show what they’re coming back from, but not in the end.

I had a character lose everything in the course of the novel.  Her home and only source of safety was burned, her parents killed, her family taken away, and her most trusted confidant betrayed her.  As each situation arose, she still had the underlying cause she was fighting for.

But what happened when even that was taken away?

Originally, I had her give up.  She stopped fighting because she didn’t know what was worth fighting for.  Multiple readers told me they were disappointed with the entire story just because of the ending.

Was it a normal reaction?

Yes.

Is it what will draw readers in?

Probably not.

We, as humans, naturally fight for what’s important.  We like to see the underdog win and overcome his trials.  And if that’s what we like to read, then shouldn’t we live that way as well?  We control our own stories, just as much as a writer controls the character’s, so maybe it’s time to change the ending.

What do you think?

Advertisements

What am I working on?

What am I working on now?

Right now, I am in the process of getting my Red WIP critiqued and edited by some great betas that I’ve found over on scribophile.com.  If you haven’t used that website before, I highly recommend it.

While I let that one sit and simmer, I’ve been working on the first draft of my Blue WIP.  I’ve found that each WIP is different, challenging me as a writer.  This WIP is based on a challenge that I’ve created for myself. 

I’m a plotter, not a pantser.  I have to know what’s going on and how my characters are going to behave before I write a single word.  But I was starting to wonder if that was restricting me.  So this WIP, I decided to start writing and see where it took me.  I began about a year ago, back before things got a little crazy.  I felt that of all my WIP’s, I’d be able to do that with this one.  It’s a sequel, based off of the Red WIP currently being critiqued.  I already knew my characters, as well as their motivations, so it was much easier for me to run with it.  (So to speak!)

I pulled this draft out (about 20,000 words) and reread it, taking notes as I went.   Then I organized my notes into sections.  Here’s what I ended up with.

Image

What amazed me more than the fact that I could write 20,000 words without an outline, was how well that random details weaved in together.  Though I still have a basic idea, I still haven’t written an outline. 

What is my Blue WIP about?

Cassie’s seen injustice all her life, and she’s ready to make a stand.  When King Brednon creates that school for future leaders, she enrolls, intent on becoming one of the king’s councilors.  But when her dream comes true, she realizes it isn’t all she thought it would be.  The other councilors treat her with distrust and prejudice, just because she’s a woman.

When the neighboring kingdom attacks at the borders, Cassie sees this as her chance to prove herself.  She convinces King Brednon to let her go to Mocra and speak with their king.  When she arrives, she learns that there’s more happening than a border conflict.

There are days that I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m finding that very exciting!

How do all of you write?  Are you pantsers or plotters?  What are you working on?

Inspiration

Image

I dabbled in writing on and off growing up, but I can clearly remember the inspiration that pushed me to actually start and finish my first novel.  I was in high school and I loved reading.  Anything I found, I read.

So, of course I was confused when everyone else didn’t feel the same way.

Especially my youngest sister.

She had difficulty with reading, and she was very vocal about how much she hated it.  It was almost physically painful listening to her talk about her dislike of books and reading.

But that didn’t stop me.  I knew my sister, and I was set on finding something she would enjoy.  I can’t count the number of books I went through, until finally, I found Ella Enchanted.  I gave it to her on her birthday, and that’s when things changed.  She loved it.  She read it over and over until she had it practically memorized.

Fort Christmas, I gave her a second book by the same author, The Two Princesses of Bamarre.  Slowly but surely, she began reading more and more of Gail Carson Levine’s books, expanding to others in the similar genre.  Watching my baby sister learn to read, and to love to read brought me more joy than I ever expected.

That’s when I realized that I could write something that she would enjoy.  I knew how to write, and I knew what she liked.  That’s when I stared my white WIP, following in the footsteps of retold fairy tales.  I think my most fulfilling moment as a writer was when I showed her a draft and she enjoyed it.

I still think of my sister when I focus on my audience, and she will always be one of my first readers.

Who inspires you to write?