We want our heroes to reflect our best qualities, and our villains our worst.
Hello, my friendly readers!
Today I have decided to do a post relating to writing, since I really haven’t done one in a while. While I love sharing aspects of my life with you all, I think it is important to remember the focus of this blog, which is my passion for writing.
Therefore, I thought it would be a little fun to dig into some of my favorite parts of being a writer.
1. A TROPICAL LITTLE GETAWAY…
The thing about writing is that it can be your cheapest vacation possible. If I have the desperate inkling to hike a Romanian cliff, then I can look up a picture online, do a little investigating into the culture and area of the world, and bam, write a story about it–all without spending the thousands of dollars to actually get there.
Writing is a whole lot like this simple example. You want a magical, one-of-a-kind bachelor to fall in love with a spastic heroine? Write it up. Sick of gritty, trashy movies Hollywood produces? Write up your own script. Show who you are, find what you’re about, and listen to what you want to see in the world.
A crucial aspect of this field is that you are, and maybe unintentionally, fleshing out part of your soul for the world to read: Your hopes, your dreams, your goals. Even if you’re writing a cheesy romance, there’s still something deeply personal about the work in relation to its writer.
This past summer, I wanted a tropical vacation. I wanted to go to a beachy paradise, soak in the sun, and dip my toes into warm Caribbean water. Since I’m a jobless college student, there was no way I could afford to hop on a plane to George Town… So I wrote about it instead. I watched informational videos, read tourist reviews, and wrote part of a book set there.
As some of you know by now, I’m all for a good deal, and writing’s the best form of travel.
2. WHAT IS REALITY? WHAT IS FICTION?
A writer is lying if he or she says that everything he or she writes is fiction. This is a basic premise to my belief that, for the most part, writers can be selfish when it comes to characters. We want our heroes to reflect our best qualities, and our villains to reflect our worst.
It’s a psychological game, and it’s always fun to go back and read old material for comparison’s sake. It can be painfully embarrassing too, because writing really does tear back the skin and reveal the bones of who you are.
Let’s do something a little off-kilter and look back at two of my past principal characters.
The heroine of my latest novel, By the Skin of My Teeth, Abigail Ross is who I want to be. She’s a travel writer with six continents under her belt, a determined realist, and a seasoned individualist. She cares for others, but she’s also watching out for what others can do to her.
While Abigail has been one of my favorite characters to write thus far, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t write her without aspects of myself in mind. This is a very selfish thought process, but I like being honest with you as my reader. She also possesses similar flaws that I do, including her self-centered worldview, trusting personality, and fear of opening up to others.
Miranda is the middle child and protagonist of my latest release, The Wedding Party. An organized, Type A personal assistant to a celebrity, Miranda is a successful woman who puts her energy into others. She is idealistic but grounded, speaks her mind and follows her plans, and determines her own fate.
When I wrote the The Flores Sisters Trilogy, I specifically wanted to write one of the sisters with a personality unlike mine. Miranda is very thorough, whereas I’m go with the flow. She’s put together and by the book, whereas I write the book. 😉 That being said, Miranda still possesses certain characteristics that mirror mine: She is afraid of being alone, she wants to protect her loved ones, etc.
3. WATCH THOSE SURROUNDINGS
People watching is an actual hobby, and I know a lot of folks love to do it. It’s always fun to sit down, throw your phone at a wall (maybe not this part), and lose yourself in your surroundings. You can go on a hike through the Santa Monica Mountains or sit in a library, and there’s enough material for fifty books in each locale.
Though I typically find my characters as I’m day dreaming, there have been moments where I’m people watching, and I see someone who has a sort of swagger that piques my interest. For example, I was in a Buenos Aires subway station when I saw a young woman with bright pink hair rush past me. For whatever reason, I was drawn to her spark, and I realized that just by seeing this real, living person, I could write a character based on the five seconds I’d seen her float by.
Another example relates to physical locations. Places can have just as much power as people. When I left college for California, I started writing about my home region, the American South. What once had only bored me and left me brittle was actually my favorite place to write about. Funny, right?
Your surroundings affect your writing. If you write in a dark closet, your thoughts will probably be a little darker than sprawling out on a beach towel in Florida.
I just love the ability to experience a place, and then write about it, so that it will stay with me eternally. And the same thing about characters, however weird that may sound.
For some of you, there was a bug that bit you, left its DNA in your cells. You know what I’m talking about: Writing is your passion.
And when something’s your passion, everything else is a bonus. Even if I couldn’t make up a vacation to the Cayman Islands, then whatever. I’d find whatever joy in another story that rooted itself in my brain.
This world has endless opportunity, endless potential. You can go out there and learn to fly; you can go out there and teach English or Swahili or Russian; you can go out there and do what you want. At least hopefully. And if you have the chance to do what you love, what is there to lose?
Your happiness, that’s what.
Until next time,