I’m what is called a pantser like Stephen King. I don’t outline the story ahead of time. But I do take time to stop and think or journal on where I’d like my characters to end up. Anyhow, my two characters, a woman and a man, are growing in separate places right now. The guy’s growth is far more interesting than the woman’s. In real life this normal since women mature at a younger age than men, but in writing is this ok? Should I find more balance? Should I be more deliberate about her growth? My only concern is that she will be unrealistic if I am too deliberate. Or am I over thinking and this is how characters grow in fiction.
Fiction writers, do you find this or do this intentionally. Like, give another character more spotlight? Maybe it’s her slow growth that makes him more interesting and vibrant? I’d love to hear your strategies.
The first draft is just you telling yourself the story
What I’m struggling with is uncertainty on where my characters are going to go next. The experts say just write and what happens next will come to you. They also say write an outline or at least know your ending. I have a favored ending in mind which is confidence and self-acceptance for my characters. As I write toward my goal ending I would like to watch both characters bloom into something bigger and more beautiful than what they currently are.
“Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.” – Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784), English Author, Poet, and Literary Critic and Writer
I had been thinking about the good guy vs the bad in a collection of short stories I’ve been working on, and I was reminded that in life no human is ever pure bad or pure good. What is most important when developing my characters is that I display my characters as their true selves. Whether they are good or bad doesn’t matter. As long as I display them as true as possible, they will make the choices themselves. The truth is we all teeter between being the good guy and the bad guy. And the gray area where we can’t seem to navigate is what makes us human.
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Bad Guys -On Writing
Quote Via https://www.decision-making-solutions.com/ethics_quotes.html
“Our doctrine is, that the author and the reader should move along together in full confidence with each other.”
Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers
This quote really hit the nail on the head for me. I need confidence in my writing so that my readers are confident in my writing. The feeling like need a reason to write has been making me lose confidence in my short stories, when the truth is, even if I don’t feel like I’m saying something, in just writing about my character’s day to day activities is, for me, finding beauty in the mundane. On that thought, I may think it’s mundane, but not everyone has lived the lifestyle my characters live. Maybe some dream of the monotony from their chaotic lives. Others may have lived similar lives and relate on a level that can’t be easily explained. So hopefully, this will be a reminder to me to go confidently into what I feel is the mundane story so that my readers will feel confident to walk the story with me.
What kind of things help you regain confidence in your writing?
Writing everyday is getting easier. It’s finding what I want to say that is the challenge for me. I search and read and think and talk to people and then it hits me and I write about it until it loses it’s magic. Then I’m back where I started.
It’s not that I lack inspiration. I have overwhelming amounts of that. It’s more that I want to stand for something I believe deeply in.
How I’m feeling about my writing lately
I haven’t really been able to settle into a story I’m committed to. I’ve been jumping around different short stories hoping to find one I can snuggle into or one that makes me so uncomfortable I can’t help but think about it. I’ve been using my own life, the things I want in life, fictional ideas, etc. I just don’t really feel connected to any of them. It helps when I know what I want to say.
With all that being said, I write anyway.
Today I was having a hard time focusing. So I decided to just have fun with my writing today. I didn’t focus on a concept, or a theme. I also did not try to root my focus on anything in the background while I wrote. I just wanted my characters to basically dance in the rain. I had my wild woman show her curious silly side and my male character show his playful flirty side. It felt good to let go of all the demands for a time.
What kind of things do you do to get the words out when you can’t focus?
It’s natural for me to write in first person, so lately, I’ve been giving third person a try. It was uncomfortable for me at first to write that way. I felt like it distanced me from the story and my characters, but I feel a better connection with my characters lately. I’m not sure what really pushed me to try writing in third person. I think it was being so tired and just having to get something down. Then I realized it was so bad. I guess it’s proof I’m evolving and growing as a writer. Yay
I just want to throw this out there. I talk a lot of shit. I act like I’m rebellious and a rockstar, but it’s all a show. I f’n adore community and meeting people and learning people and supporting people. So yes, I like to go out. I like to dress sexy and feel pretty.
I like getting told I’m beautiful.
But at the end of the day, my family is my priority.
I love being home, hanging out, eating dinner together, and talking about our day. I love growing and building together. There was never a time that I wasn’t loyal to my home. There was only a time I put my home before individuals who weren’t ready to grow with me.
Everyone’s priorities are different when it comes to where their loyalty lives and dies. I am first loyal to my spiritual growth, then to my family, then my writing, then everything moves and jumbles around below those.
At times there are gray areas. When I reach those places, I make sure to communicate with my loved ones that I’m in an unknown area. I do my best to show full respect and honesty to my household during those times. It’s much harder to communicate when it’s an internal writing thing, but I try.
Where I struggle with loyalty is when to stop being loyal. Once I fully commit to someone or something, I take my loyalty to grave. So, I tend to stay loyal to people and places who no longer serve me. And that’s a problem. That’s not setting boundaries.
So todays writing will be inspired by my inner conflict with loyalty.
Today I decided to go into a fantasy world in my writing. I finished writing about the rough stuff and decided to write about how I feel when I’m loved. Of course it probably looks chaotic and a little unreal but when I’m loved that’s how my world feels. It feels like I could do anything. And you know what, it’s crazy how much more motivated I feel when I choose to love me. Loving me also opens my heart to let others love me and that is the connection we all crave, right, to love and be loved.
I am loving myself by writing this post and also writing encouraging words on my other social media platforms. How do you love yourself?