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Thought for Thursday

The Rich Writer: Thought for Thursday

The Rich Writer

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thought for Thursday

I've been thinking (dangerous, I know) and have come to a really cool conclusion: people like to read about characters facing new situations, learning new things, and generally being stretched to become more than they were at the start of a story. (In writer-speak, I guess that's called the character arc.) So, if we love to read about people who are in new situations and learning new things, we'll be better writers if we jump into the occasional new situation, too.

I've been following this thought-trail because of my current book project, a story about a girl who runs away to Peru to find her missing mother and finds love, instead. It's been the speediest story ever to fly from my pen. I write every day until I run out of time and/or energy and the story shows little sign of stopping. Why?

Here's my theory: I think it's because I underwent Luciana's journey when I visited Peru this past January. No, I wasn't running away from home, and no, my mother wasn't missing--but I walked the paths Lu is walking in my story, physically and, in some ways, emotionally. I collected two and a half weeks' worth of stories in Peru and now they're spilling out.

It's easy for writers to stay in our cozy writing rooms and create...but if we really want to portray characters who have to grow and change, we have to face the occasional new situation ourselves. It might be travel, or an art class, or learning archery, or volunteering in a homeless shelter--but find something, somewhere, that makes you a little uncomfortable and a little bit, well, more, than you were before. Then pour the experience into your next character.

:) Cheryl

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