Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Change of Seasons: Shifting a Character's World View


     Change is on my mind a lot lately.
     My middle child will be a senior next year, and our youngest is only two short years behind him. Suddenly the house seems too big and too quiet much too often. Where once I looked forward to getting out for peace and quiet, some 'me time', I now find I'm here alone more than I want to be. I'm thinking about 'me time' in a different context now. When the kids were small, time was scarce. Now it can be a great expanse.
     Change is inevitable.
     I'm struggling with a character in my work-in-progress. I worry that she isn't changing enough throughout the course of the manuscript. Or that the scene when she realizes she needs to adopt a different world view isn't strong enough. Yet I can't be TOO obvious or I risk sounding like I don't trust the reader to figure it out on her own. After finishing Donald Maass's The Fire in Fiction, I'm rereading (and highlighting like crazy) parts on inner turning points and measuring change over time. It's a fantastic guide if you struggle with showing emotional conflict like I do.
     Change is hard.
     Last night I watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Great movie! The book, by author Stephen Chbosky, was even better (in my opinion) in the way that words sometimes pack a bigger emotional punch than images. There is a scene in the book when one of the characters wrestles with change:

     'It's much easier to not know things sometimes. Things change and friends leave. And life doesn't stop for anybody. I wanted to laugh. Or maybe get mad. Or maybe shrug at how strange everybody was, especially me. I think the idea is that every person has to live for his or her own life and than make the choice to share it with other people. You can't just sit there and put everybody's lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can't. You have to do things. I'm going to do what I want to do. I'm going to be who I really am. And I'm going to figure out what that is.'  

     Change is empowering.
   

7 comments:

  1. I'm about getting ready to reread THE FIRE IN FICTION. I'm thinking a lot about micro-tension these days.

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    1. I hope you'll love it as much as I did, Marcia. Maass has such an engaging voice and uses so many excerpts of novels to illustrate his points. Get your highlighter ready!

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  2. Have not seen this movie...sounds good. Change... I hate it, I love it, and for the most part still have mixed feelings. But it makes for a rich, full life. One day at a time as the saying goes...Cherish every moment!!

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    1. Change is enriching, but writing in the midst of change is hard work at best!

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  3. Change is such a mixed bag. Good and bad, and even mediocre. Yet it's constant in its lack of consistency. Haha. Donald Maass is a guru. If you ever have the chance to see him at a writer's conference or workshop, I highly recommend it. He gets everyone fired up!

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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    1. I would love to take one of his workshops! Did a search for appearances while I was reading the book, and saw he'll be in the Minnesota at the end of the year. A possibility....

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  4. Wow, that's a great snippet. Really makes me want to read the book.
    Wishing you all the best as you adjust to the changes as home, Dawn. Good for you for recognizing and applying that life experience to your writing.

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