Updated: Sep 22
The idea of starting a writer’s blog for myself came from my daughter. Sitting around describing aspects of myself seems about as appealing as killing off a beloved character; something I have tried and failed at numerous times. But, my daughter has a point. If I want people to know about my books, I need to talk about myself and my books. I’d better get used to it.
On the other hand, I need to be careful. I do have a family who have no desire to be in the spotlight. I need to protect them as I expose myself.
Maybe that is what my first blog post should be about: exposure.
I don’t know about other authors, but when I write books, I am exposing a part of myself typically about my inner psyche or something I am dealing with internally. Helping my characters deal with their internal strife helps me deal with my own. For example, in Shattered Crystal, Crys battles an invisible chronic illness to the best of her ability while simultaneously dealing with serious life stressors that would take down the healthiest of individuals. I, too, have a chronic illness people can’t see from the outside. It does create obstacles only those with similar issues can relate.
Between Layers of Earth, Terry, a minor character hardly noticed by anyone, is dealing with physical and emotional pains. When others do notice them, they see her as a generally angry person when in fact her issue isn’t anger, it’s despair over her inability to overcome her physical limitations and reclaim the life she once enjoyed. For me, she embodies the pain of other peoples’ judgments when they don’t have the ability to put themselves into the shoes of another, try as they might. I related very much to Terry, more than any of the other characters of that book.
My next one I hope to have ready for publication in May or June, 2021, The Power of Ketchup, focuses on relationships of friends in a small town who mean well, but sometimes the best of intentions are not enough. Try as we all might, clashes still happen, feelings are hurt, and fences are barely mended with flimsy kite string. Grace is needed to keep those fences holding. I have many a strained relationship in my life. I do my best to extend grace. I don’t always succeed. I am human after all.
The beauty of writing fictional stories is exactly that. I can take mistakes in my life and almost give them a redo in a fictional world with fictional people to try and see another’s point of view. I have the ability to create the other person’s shoes and step into them. No, not every character is about me. Most are a combination of two or three other people I either know or have observed and taken notes. No one character is an exact copy of a real person in my sphere. So, if you are trying to figure out, is that one me, or is that one her? Likely not.
However, being able to create characters with problems, see those problems from their point of view that is in fact different from my own, is an ability to not only play God, but be God. What would God do in these given situations? Hmm? Fun to ponder, isn’t it?
I also find it interesting how people will ask me questions about whom in real life characters are modeled after. I have been asked if a specific character is based on this one particular person. Not once has the person asking been correct except for those I have specifically stated publicly. For example, in Between Layers, the English teacher is in fact modeled after my high school English teacher, but not exclusively. There are others in the mix of that particular character as well.
I’m not trying protect anyone’s feelings or identity. I say that because it is fascinating how people attempt to read my mind from the pages I have written and how wrong they have all been.
One of the great things about reading stories, fiction or non-fiction, is the ability to read your own mind from the pages in front of you. Forget the author. It’s about learning about yourself. What feelings are being generated within yourself? What triggers from your own past are coming to the surface? These stories aren’t about me. They are about you. They are about life. How does the story you are reading now enhance aspects of your life?
There is a lesson in that, one I should include in one of my stories. Hopefully, someday, I will. The lesson is this: at no time should we attempt to read the mind of another. We are almost never right. Never. I don’t always know the minds of the very characters I have created. Often, after they get so far along in the book, they argue with me. “I would never say or do that! Change those lines!” Once they get so far developed, they tell me who they are!
We should all enjoy the ride we are on and recognize that no one is on the same roller coaster as ourselves, not even our closest companions. We each are navigating our own amusement parks aka our own lives. While you are there, create the best clowns to entertain you as your imagination can concoct, to ride those rides as your closest companions. They make the twistiest (I know, that’s a superlative, but it’s a fun one) of rides bearable.
Go ahead and let out that scream on that big hill. It’s a doozy!
Thanks for reading!
Sarah (Humor in Chaos)