Friday, August 16, 2013
Do Life Events Change People?
In the quote above, the final sentence stands out for me. Everyone has gone through something that has changed them. It's one of the rules of writing fiction, isn't it? The protagonist must change in some way by meeting problems and solving them (or not!). There wouldn't be any story if the hero or heroine didn't meet some obstacles along the way. We wouldn't care much about them unless we see some growth in them or a change of some sort.
Even Pollyanna, the little girl who saw the positive side of everything, wasn't immune to problems in her life. If all we read in her story was about how wonderful her life was and how charming everything and everyone around her was, why would we want to read it? If nothing happens, what incentive do we have to continue turning the pages?
It's that 'something that a person has gone through' that is the basis for writing a fiction story. But it works in nonfiction, too. If you're writing a memoir that you hope to have published, you'd better have a life story that shows how you were changed in some way, You need to tell your readers what is special about what happened to you that will make them want to continue reading to learn how you changed.
Yes, each and every one of us has a story. Granted, some are a whole lot more interesting than others. I've even heard people comment about their own life having been a pretty dull one, one that no one would care to know about. If they really give it some thought, they might come up with some interesting events that occurred over their lifetime, some things that changed them as a person.
Loss of someone you care about changes you in a number of ways. Once you achieve a long-sought goal, you're not the same person who started the journey as the one who reached the end. Falling in love and devoting your life to another person changes you. Becoming a parent certainly changes you in numerous ways.
Walk down the aisles of the grocery store and take a good look at the people who pass by. Each one of them has a story. Each one of them has been changed in some way by what has occurred over their lifetime. As a writer, it should make you want to tap them on the shoulder and ask them to tell you their story. I wouldn't suggest doing it, however, as they might call for help! What I'm suggesting is to be observant--watch and listen to the world around you. You might find the perfect character for your next short story or novel.