Tis the season to be thankful.
As a writer, I am thankful for characters both real and imaginary.
Consider the characters who have willingly shared a life they've stumbled through--well, not by their choice because we writer's put them through it--and survived to say good bye for now on the last page.
Scrooge from Scrooge-bless his heart. The man who reminds us to not be greedy. To be kind to employees. To help those with physical needs.
Dorothy from Wizard of Oz- The girl who reminds us there's no place like home. To seek to improve ourselves and find courage, knowledge, and love.
Jean Valjean from Les Miserables- Forgiveness wins.
Hermione Granger from Harry Potter- Stand up for what you know. Defend the underprivileged. Stay true to your friends.
Mulan from Mulan - She sacrifices herself to save her father and ends up saving the country.
Drey from Karate Kid the remake - Apologize when insulting others. Be willing to leave your world behind and accept new surroundings. Adapt. Work hard to achieve.
Ethan Hunt from Mission Impossible - Our mentors are not always who we think they are. Be wary.
Noah Calhoun from The Notebook - Love never fails.
Arthur Dent from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Don't sweat the small stuff.
Henry Roth from Fifty First Dates - Infirmity can not hold back love.
Wesley from Princess Bride - What do you have to live for? True Love.
David from A.I. Artificial Intelligence - Search, no matter the obstacles, for love and family.
There is an endless list of other characters I could add. The point is, every good story is about a character who goes on a journey. One journey per story. One issue.
So if your character struggles with feeling alone, plunge her initially into the pit of loneliness. Right on page one.
The story is her journey out of that pit. If she only crawls halfway out...she is still in that pit. If she finds a divot big enough to rest in along the way, she is still in the pit. As she works to crawl out of the pit, search for ways to heighten her misery..no matter what that misery is. Be brave enough to write realistic scenes.
Is her struggle desperate for love? Ways she could try to climb out of this pit could be satisfying this need with a pet, a career, an addiction, masochism (bulimia, cutting, etc). Ways she falls is believing no one can love her, until.....
Show the problem in 3D words. Show how she tries this way and that way to get out of the situation.
Perhaps the way to the surface is revealed by God, or a godly friend, or a godly man.
Her journey out of the pit is the story. Once she steps on the surface...the story is basically over except her joyful response.
So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are some ideas for comments today. It'll take only a second to share and we love to hear from you.
1. In less than ten words, tell your character's overall journey for your current WIP.
2. Write a note to your character telling him/her why you are thankful for them.
3. Write a note from your character telling you the author why he/she is thankful for you. (have fun with this one :) )
To get you started here is a thank you note from Scrooge to Charles Dickens:
I've put an extra coal in the fire just for you before dipping my quill in the ink. I understand you're feeling under the weather, and so you should after forcing me to endure the three ghosts. I've forgiven you because I've seen...no I think the far better word is felt. Yes, felt reasons, solid reasons for treating my employees with kindness. Tiny Tim visited me the other day. The lad left me a sticky piece of butterscotch candy. Hah, I hadn't tasted one since my own impish years. Quite delightful.
I've taken to avoiding beef, apparently my stomach has problems digesting this food. All in all, I am grateful for the Christmas I spent with you. Although, I am also thankful we haven't had a second.
Thank you again, old chap
And Merry Christmas,
I can't wait to read your comment(s)!
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Mary writes young adult mystery/suspense, is honing marketing and writing skills, and loves to pen missionary and tell Bible event stories on her ministry blog, God Loves Kids. She has finaled in several writing contests.
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