Our chapter meeting last night was about putting the spark back in your writing. Our presenters Susan Lute and Darla Lukenbaugh had a really great handout and exercise for those who attended.
We had to choose one of our protagonists and give them a VISION. Meaning, what they see as their life, their identity, how they try to present themselves to the world around them. I'm not quoting word for word here, so bear with me while I try to explain the exercises. Thanks! And, if any of you who attended the meeting got something different out of it and think I'm waaaay off, please feel free to correct me. Really. I mean it. :)
We also, at the end of the presentation, had to give a vision of ourselves. Our perfect vision of ourselves. So mine might go something like this...
My vision for myself is I'm a fabulous wife and mother who gets all my house work done before six in the morning so I can go exercise, shower, shampoo and shine before my little darlings awake for the day. I fix a healthy balanced breakfast each day for my family and then I whisk them off to school where they get perfect grades because of the love and support they have from such a wonderful home life. While they're gone I sit at the computer and write for five hours straight, never tiring, and the story flows together so perfectly that re-writing isn't even a consideration. Then I close the computer to go prepare another healthy balanced meal for my perfect little family and we all enjoy an animated conversation about our day around the dinner table. Everyone is happy. I'm completely unstressed and have no worries about life because everything always fits together like a delicate hand in a kid glove.
Sickening huh? But that's a vision I can have for myself. I can visualize having my life this way. It's my vision. It doesn't have to be reality.
Your characters can have a vision for themselves, too. But it doesn't have to be their reality. Oh no. You, as the author, can slam them into reality. Here's where the spark can come in. Put your character through the ringer, so to speak. Screw with their vision. Does this make sense?
Next, we gave our protagonist a SECRET (or mystery). What do they not want anyone to know about them. For example, Susan has a character that has a secret identity. It could be anything though. You know the secret. Think about it. What is it?
Then you become your protagonist by answering the questions... "I am..., I want..., I feel..."
You can have more than one sentence to answer these questions. We were challenged to come up with at least three "I want..." statements.
Then finally you need to ask your character this... What will you do to get what you want?
At the end of their presentation they had us write this...
1. I will do whatever it takes to get published, except don't ask me to...
2. I am writing this book because...
It was an interesting and fun presentation to do and even better once I was driving home and pondering it.
I hope my rendition of Susan and Darla's presentation will help those of you who weren't able to attend the chapter meeting. I hope it helps you to think about your characters and your goals for them and your story and that it will help put a spark into your writing too.
Like I said before, please feel free to add to or correct any information I've given here about the presentation.
And if any of you are brave and willing, go ahead and answer these questions and post them in the comments section. (You may want to do this on your own for both your hero and your heroine.)
1. Pick one of the protagonists:
2. Give your protagonist a VISION:
3. Give your protagonist a SECRET (or mystery):
4. Become your protagonist by using the "Magic I" (I am..., I want..., I feel...).
Many thanks to Susan Lute and Darla Lukenbaugh for this presentation and to their partner Wendy Warren.
Good luck and may the SPARK be with you!