Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pema Chodron Heart Advice

Writing a novel requires action, commitment, creativity, a plotline, and characters ... yesterday was suppose to be a writing day ... it wasn't, because I was stuck. So, what's the problem?  The main character is incomplete. Defining him has been an ongoing problem.  I know him, know where he's been, what he needs (which is different than what he wants), understand his fears and insecurities.

He's been successful in the past,  thought he was happy and believed that there was enough time to fix things in his marriage. He was wrong. I know that the past will bring forth the best in Dominic. I want the reader to recognize this truth. 

In The Art of Fiction, Henry James says that the incidents you create for your characters are the best ways to illuminate who they are -- that is, reveal their true nature, their essential character. How they respond to this particular incident or event, how they act, and react, what they say and do is what really defines the essence of their character.

Dominic's life is about to change. A lot. My job is to make him believable, likable, worth investing in. I have to chose my words well. Yesterday I didn't write because I was stuck. I have a lot of bad writing habits.  Yesterday I stared at the sky waiting for the answer to reveal itself. I should have been actively writing. Today this appeared in my email:

Getting Unstuck

"We can contact our inner strength, our natural openness, for short periods before getting swept away. And this is excellent, heroic, a huge step in interrupting and weakening our ancient habits. If we keep a sense of humor and stay with it for the long haul, the ability to be present just naturally evolves. Gradually we lose our appetite for biting the hook. We look* our appetite for aggression. "  Pema Chodron

* I think this should read lose.

1 comment:

Carol Bindel said...

This Pema Chodron quote feel so on-target. (Her sayings usually do resonate in me.) And the way you speak of how your own understanding of how life works must mesh with your understanding of your character's traits, needs, desires feels on-target, too. Thanks. Let us all be patient with being stuck, and find the way to unstuck again.