Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Characters We're Thankful For and Why

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:

Dear Charles,
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,

Ebenezer Scrooge

I can't wait to read your comment(s)!

Help others--tweet or FB share this post


Rock climbing, white-water rafting, zip lining, and hiking top Mary's list of great ways to enjoy a day. Such adventures can be found in her stories as well.

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.

Visit Mary at her websiteblog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter

All subscribers to Mary's newsletter will receive her new short story an intriguing suspense/mystery. Come, read a good story. To get your free gift, sign up for the newsletter at Mary's website or:  Join the adventure!



Sandra Stiles said...

Thank you, I loved this. Here is my letter.

Dear Sandra,

I want to thank you for the trials you put me through. I never thought I would be attacked by a racist. I never could have believed you would have let that crazy man kidnap and hide away my own sister and best friend to make a point. It wasn’t enough you let me hit that Amish man and leave him on the side of the road. You let him show me leniency all to teach me about forgiveness.

It was tough going through the trials you put me through. I had to learn to be tough and see that you were using me for a higher purpose. You were not only working on me but working through me to teach others the true message of forgiveness. Maybe you were working on yourself as well.

I have begun to spend time at home with my family instead of going off like a hot head to deal with issues. Thank you for all you’ve done for me and my friends.

Thinking of you fondly,
Frankie Bonita

Robin E. Mason said...

ya, this was fun!!

17 July 1912

Dearest Madame Robin,

Merci pour giving light to my words I would have no one to tell my story to if not for you. I am most grateful for your insight into my heart, and the way to express my very thoughts. You know me so well.

I thank you for standing by me and helping me discover Simone’s secret. If you could give her a nudge and say something or do something—only don’t hurt her, she’s suffered enough already. I beg you, let me tell the others. I shall go mad if I am forced to keep this to myself much longer.

I know you do your best, and I thank you for that also. Simone is… mulish, and petulant sometimes, I know this well, and I so admire your way with her.

I do trust you with our story, and I thank you for allowing us to be part of your life. I am delighted, too, that you are part of ours.

I understand you are in November, and Thanksgiving is upon you. I wish you and your family and friends a most happy and blessed holiday. If I was there with you, I would cook the finest turkey I could with my own hands.

Most graciously and ever yours,
Mercedes Renaldi

Angie Dicken said...

My character's journey is in the words of Charles Dickens... "no one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of others." Great post, Mary! Thankful for you!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Oh my goodness, Sandra. That letter. Wow. Now I'm thinking letters like these would make great marketing tools in so many ways.
Well done!!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Robin, Wow, you took me back to the early 1900's. This letter definitely sounded legit...one from that time. You must have unearthed this note. The paper must have been a bit torn and yellowed. Wasn't it fun to read? Thanks so much for joining this activity.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Oh Ang...those words are not only for our important characters, but also for us. Thanks so much for reminding us of Dickens' words. :)