No is a complete sentence

A Love Letter from a Story

happieroutsideThe following letter was told to me by one of my characters – Evan, from Intertwined, a fantasy story about magic, defeating the old ways, and realizing that other cultures have the same heart.

Dialoguing with my characters is a technique I use to get to the center of my characters, or ask them to open up to me about what a certain problem is or figure out why they’re quiet. This particular instance resulted in him directing his thoughts towards me, and knowing I needed his reassurance that day. These characters of mine are why I keep writing. I can’t ever let them down.

Evan writes:

Hey gorgeous. I see the confusion in your eyes. You’re pulled in so many directions. You want to make everyone happy. You’re worried about security. You’re worried about making the wrong choices.

While your internal turmoil is twisting you into knots, might I just add that you should choose us? Your characters. Your stories. Here’s why – we’ll never let you down. You will never lack for worlds to create or plots to construct or relationships to cultivate.

Sure you could just continue reading others’ works and find some level of happiness. They won’t be the stories you need to write. They won’t be written with your voice. They won’t have your heart and soul entwined in them.

That’s why we love you. That’s why we show up when you ask it of us. That’s why we let you destroy our lives, our families, our relationships, so you can put us back together in a way only you can construct.

So while you’re making those grand choices and plans to secure your future, bank on us. We exist because of you, and we won’t ever let you down. We will love you through it all, and are so ready to come alive to your readers.

So choose us. We’re worth it.
Love, Evan

With communications like that, how could I ever not believe it?

Image snagged from my friends at Happier Outside.

No is a complete sentence

Get out of the way

Would you just get out of the way already?

One of my main characters just yelled this at me in frustration. I cringe, hearing the bite in his voice and knowing I’m the cause. Get it through your head, he continues as I sit down in my chair with my tea. We don’t want restrictions. We don’t want outlines. We don’t want to be counted and categorized and lined up for inspection to see if we fit the right criteria. We want to tell you our stories without all these stupid interruptions!

By this point he’s leaned over me, his glare boring into my eyes. I can practically feel the steam. “All right,” I reply, putting my hand on his chest gently to ask him to give me room. “How do I do this?” Just listen, and write, he says. Why is that such a difficult concept?

Why indeed. Whenever I have trouble with my writing, it’s never about the story. It’s always because I’m getting in my own way. I put up blocks because of the expectations I place on myself, or because I’m uncomfortable. I hesitate to generalize, but I have a feeling this is true for many writers. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to progress on our stories. Writing is not for the faint of heart. It calls for introspection, faith, and the call to arms every day to battle the doubt monster.

How do I get out of my own way? I’m still working on the answer to that. In the meantime, my main character is tapping his foot, waiting. I’m off to go listen to his story. Maybe it’s that simple.