Today I’m delighted to welcome Erin Brown Conroy to the blog. Erin is a writer, author, musician, coffee-lover & mom from Michigan, and a good friend. Today and over the next two Wednesdays, I’m hosting a series of guest posts by Erin honestly examining the realities of ‘life messes’, and how we can use them to transform our lives for the better.
Today she begins by introducing the topics & themes of the series. I’m sure you’re all going to be really impacted positively by Erin’s posts. Over to you Erin…
It’s a fact that novel writers deal with crap. Poo. Foo foo. Fodder. Now that I have your attention, let me explain. (I’m going to let you in on a storywriter’s secret.)
Novel writers are always looking for fodder to impede, perplex, and entangle the story’s Hero. I’m talking about problems. In order to tell a story that readers enjoy, the Hero must strive, struggle, and be strained through conflict, complications, and pain—and then come out changed on the other side. You’ve probably heard of this change dynamic in story. It’s called the character arc.
Through the character arc, we see a glimpse of ourselves in the Hero. As we live the Hero’s life in the story (because every reader puts him or herself in the Hero’s place) we identify with the fodder. Then, in some crazy way, the Hero’s mess helps us to deal with our own messes. We have cathartic moments. And we’re somehow soothed. Encouraged. Inspired.
So writers mess up the Hero’s life on purpose, for the reader’s benefit. (Here’s lookin’ at you, reader.) Yep. That’s right. When a writer intentionally messes the Hero over, as in that point in the book when your heart beats faster for the Hero and you say to yourself, oh, crap…I can’t believe this is happening—it’s all for you.
Where do the writer’s messy ideas come from?