Saturday, January 17, 2015




Writing Should Get Personal

Each of us is the hero of our own story.

We each have a hidden need. Maybe it's fear of social situations or loving money more than family, or maybe we're simply broken-hearted and need to get over it.

This hidden need hurts us, and it also hurts people around us.

In order to resolve this hidden need, we must take action.

Action causes conflict, and conflict is what makes story.

There is no life without conflict.

It's the same with story. The hidden need—goal or desire—of the protagonist sets the story in motion. This need is so important that it hurts not only the protagonist but the secondary characters as wellThere is no story without conflict.

It boils down to cause and effect or the domino effect. Need leads to action. Action leads to conflict.

Consider Romeo and Juliet. Romeo is lovesick, in love with love. Spurned by one lovely girl, he catches sight of another, Juliet, and falls head over heels. She's the sun. He must have her; his ardent pleas arouse her interest and soon she must have him as well.

Too bad they're from families who despise each other. Bad news, right? Wrong.

It's good news for plot development. The more conflict the better. Too bad everyone around has to hear about this star-crossed romance. Too bad they also have to suffer andthere's danger, death, hand-wringing, decision making, and tears, lots of tears.

Bad news, right? Wrong.

And in the end they both die.

No worries. It's all so self-sacrificing and romantic and that's all good news for story and a best seller for Shakespeare.

Think about your own personal story and the hidden needs you've experienced. Perhaps some of those desires ruptured your family, created tension, destroyed relationships, caused a financial loss, ended in unbearable grief, bore terrible guilt,d caused isolation, or resulted in estrangement

Face it.

We've all hurt someone and we've all been hurt, and usually it comes from not having enough of something: love, money, status, possessions, friends, popularity, confidence, support, power, and a hundred other things. We don't have it, we want it, and we go out and get it, often hurting someone along the way. Or we don't have it, we want it, and we sit around and mope about it forever, making ourselves—and everyone else—miserable. Consider the ramifications of moving across country to a new state or the result of a divorce that splits family, friends, and kids. Everything we do in life affects those around us. I know. I've hurt people I didn't mean to hurt, and others living their own life stories have hurt me. Hurt is a personal part of life, and hurt deepens the characterizations and plot in a story.

It all begins with that hidden need.

People read books in search of universal truths. They want to know how to live their own lives. They relate most with stories that get personal.

Dig into your own life story to come up with ideas forfictionAsk your protagonist what he or she really wants in life and must have at all costs.

Revelation is what brings characterto life. When we write from a deep point of view, the story takes on a whole new dynamic. Whether it's fiction or memoir, get personal. Yourreaders will be grateful.

-MaryAnn Easley

1 comment:

  1. Your wisdom and passion are an endless source of inspiration!