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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Change: A Story Needs It


Last week I ranted about the changes that I am currently going through and I promised to share how one could use that change in their writing.

Well, how do you use what you’re going through in your life in your writing?

  1. Keep a journal. Writing about your feelings about things as you are feeling them is the best way to capture the emotions in a raw way. 
  2. Use that journal to help mold your characters. It is much easier to write a realistic emotional scene if you know you how that emotion actually feels. For example, if you have ever moved and felt said about it, you will know exactly how to have your character emote that without it being over the top or unrealistic.
  3. The changes in your life, no matter how small, can be used as inspiration for your story. Maybe you have a character that feels like their life is piling up on them but it feels off to have everything be a major issue. I hate it when I read stories about people who literally have every bad thing you can imagine happen to them. So, if you have a character who has gone through a series of bad things (they got into a car wreck and lost their job in the same day) using a small change could be the best way to set the character off (like their favorite snack being taken off the market or even going to. different restaurant than their usual for a birthday dinner.) I feel like making the tipping point something small makes the situation for realistic. 

Why do I feel that way? Why wouldn’t it be something major that sets a character off?

When I think about my own life, I was fine with moving and getting a new job, but it was spending a holiday (Valentine’s Day, a day I don't even care about) in our temporary living space that made me cry. With everything changing around me, I couldn’t help but long for something to stay the same. I feel like that tends to be the case with most people. Most people say that big change freaks them out when it’s really the little things that get to them. For example, moving is a big change and while it is normally not a bad thing, a lot of people hate it. I don’t think they hate it because they don’t want a change of scenery, but because of the little things that will be different (you might have to use a different grocery chain, your bedroom might be set up differently, but mostly, it’s just not the same.)

Why is using your experience with change important in your writing?

Because you have no story without change. If your character’s life is the same from beginning to end, if there is no change, no growth, then you didn’t tell a story.


I hope this helps you harness your own experiences and using them in your writing. Next week I will talk about words and why word choice is extremely important.