We authors love to read, and we love, of course, to write fiction. We love stories. We love connecting with stories, because we love what they teach us about being human and how they explore what it means to be human.
So today, I wanted to offered a challenge by offering some questions you can consider (or not, of course) on your own time. During a spare moment. Maybe while sitting in traffic or something.
We authors know we have the bug to write, but how often do we really consider WHY we feel driven to craft stories about people who don’t exist? I don’t consider this very often, I know, and I’m a rather contemplative type. I like deep thinking.
So, here are just a few questions that might help you understand why you love writing, and how you can best write so as to develop as a person.
- Why do I write about the characters I do? What about them draws me to them? What do I admire about them? What does that say about me? How can I better demonstrate those attributes/virtues of theirs I like so much?
- Putting character and plot aside, what is my story really about? What is the theme there, the one that cuts through story specific details and speaks to being human? Can I draw the theme out more, maybe, without cheapening it?
For me, the thing that is really standing out to me right now about my own fiction is failure: my characters tend to be little people (in the sense that they are humble people aware of their flaws and weaknesses, even if they also have undeniable strengths.) These little people face big obstacles…. They are constantly bombarded not only by a fear, but by a likelihood of failure that kind of makes me queasy.
The unknown after failure looms rather large for some of my characters. And I know that’s something that’s always unsettled me: I tend to be a worrier. I worry about the future, because the future is unknown, and I think we can all admit that’s always a little scary.
Fear of failure, of lack of control (which can lead to failure), and perfectionism are things I have been focusing on and praying about…. Recognizing what it is that holds us back is always the first step to making changes, and MAN, have changes been happening! (This isn’t my faith blog, but I published a post there a while back about how crazy a year 2014 was and how God reached out to me very personally last summer.… SO much has changed in my life since then! If that kind of story interests you, there’s a link.)
Anyways, I have always found it kind of scary how deeply my characters manifest my same insecurities and weaknesses. It’s like watching them overcome the same things I face (or symbols thereof) helps me find courage to confront them too.
I suspect that’s not all too uncommon, though.