Karalee’s Post #80
I’m going to dedicate some time on writing short stories as this seems to be where my mind set is lately. With all the self-work and personal growth I have been pursuing over the the last year or so, keeping a whole novel story going seems to be too much for my brain at the moment.
Life has had its challenges, and believe me, one’s childhood, one’s back story, plays a very strong role that is difficult to overcome. Building trust and belief in new ways of thinking about the world is hard work and emotionally draining. My insight into one’s past though, will be great fodder for future character development in my stories I’m sure.
That said, character development is where I struggle. I want complex characters with challenges as well as expertise, intelligence and fears and successes and regrets. Why do I have such difficulty in creating such people in my writing?
Paula in her last post Just Ask hit my fear button. Paula is a great thinker and talker and seems fearless in asking anyone anything.
Just ask her!
Not me. Not all of us 5Writers are fearless interviewers. That’s where my own back story comes in and plays a role I wish it didn’t. I’m a smart person and once-upon-a-time was eager to participate in classes and groups and didn’t mind speaking up and be noticed. That is, until one of my teachers humiliated me in front of her class for being, well, ahead of the class so-to-speak, and she didn’t handle the situation professionally. Looking back at other childhood experiences before then, this was the last straw, and my courage to put myself “out there” has never returned.
So to me even the thought of just asking is daunting.
But Paula is right, and I’m glad she has challenged us writers to sit down with real people and learn about real life so we can write more realistically. I know that if I can do it, most of you can too. This is an area that I need to push myself to participate in in order to improve my writing, and my confidence in my writing.
In general I’m a good talker in small groups. Asking someone about something you know nothing about doesn’t hurt, and it doesn’t cause real pain. Besides it’s a great way to get to know other people, which is a good thing as writing is a lonely job.
Most people are more than willing to give of their time and expertise and divulge what they know. Who doesn’t like talking about what they love doing? And generally people don’t smell or bite either, and they won’t laugh at you for asking questions they may think are weird or not-so-intelligent because they don’t expect you to know what it’s really like to be a fire-eater, or dog whisperer, or trapeze artist, or forensic psychologist, or sniper, or any other profession that takes years to learn or become expert at.
So just ask. After preparing your questions of course, which means that you need to have some idea of what your story is about, and therefore what you need to learn about. Do some research, or do a lot if you are like me and nervous about asking relevant questions or the “right” questions.
I will take Paula’s suggestion to heart and break into my discomfort zone and push myself to just ask. For the next few months, especially with travelling for a month in Europe this summer without my computer, I’ve decided to write a few short stories and explore a few characters to see if one compels me to bring him/her along into a full length novel story.
I will make a point of meeting real people and interview them, after all I do enjoy talking. It could be fun too!
Characters I’ve liked in previous books I’ve written seem to be my secondary characters, as often happens with writers. I may bring one or two into new light, maybe even together and see what develops. I’m looking forward to exploring a few story ideas too.
I’m wondering if other writers have written short stories as a way to explore their characters?