Previously, I started the Love/Hate Challenge on the experience of being a writer. (See the first half of the list here.) And now for the belated conclusion…
- The Climax
When I teach my 7th and 8th graders about storytelling every year, I tell them that there are several things that they have to do to have a great story. A climax that delivers (or, as I usually put it, doesn’t wimp out) is one of those things.
There’s so much pressure to make a great climax. After all, this is the moment that the whole story has been building up to, and over the years, I’ve seen too many stories that fail as they reach this point. It makes me think of Elf. It’s a funny movie, and I love the first half, but as the climax nears, the mood shifts in a way that feels forced to me. Or, to go with something different, I loved the movie Stardust and decided to read the book, but I was disappointed that, in the book, the antagonist basically gives up instead of having that satisfying epic showdown with the protagonist.
Usually getting the climax right takes an excessive amount of time and energy, but when it’s right… oh, it’s hard to describe the delight that comes from that moment.
- Writing Is a Single Player Sport
Okay, so that’s not always entirely true. Yes, I usually collaborate as I work on stories (especially with my poor husband who’s always subjected to whatever story I’m currently working on). However, most of my writing time is one-on-one: just the story and me. And while usually writing is a delight, sometimes having so much work ahead, either in editing or in pushing through a draft, is hard. Even painful.
Of course, as an unabashed introvert, there is a certain delight to writing alone. It’s just my thoughts, the computer, a cup of tea or coffee, and me. And maybe the cat snuggled on the back of my chair. Or my husband playing video games in the same room. Or both. But it’s a way of releasing the constant thrumming of thoughts in my mind, and I love it.
What we write is so personal, and showing it to others isn’t easy. Whether it’s to friends and family for a beta read or sending something to a publisher or competition, handing it over feels like ripping off a Band-Aid. And when someone doesn’t like it – and I’ve had plenty of experience with that over the years – it’s not easy to take.
When I was younger, it was very hard, and while I kept a stiff upper lip, rejection was very disheartening. However, when I reached college, my perspective on it changed. One of my poetry professors forced everyone in the small class to choose 5 competitions and submit a small selection of the poems we had written for the class. Then she told us that she wanted us to let her know when we heard back, and if we were rejected, to prize those rejection letters. They were proof that we really were writers. I was fortunate to have three rejection letters, and it was the first time I felt proud about them, but certainly not the last.
This one was obvious, wasn’t it?
I would have to say that half of the time (especially towards the beginning of a story’s life), it’s not too bad. Sometimes, I would dare say that it’s enjoyable. Other times, it is an absolute pain and makes me want to quit. But absence usually does make the heart grow fonder, as the old saying goes, and a little time away is all I need to start editing again without too many complaints.
- Stories Are Epic…
The name of this blog is the Everyday Epic for a reason. It’s hard to put into words, but the point really sums up the gist of it.
Deep inside, I feel a call to adventure and to do something heroic. I read about Sam and Frodo taking the Ring to Mordor, and I want to be there too. I want to join Link as he saves Hyrule in yet another Legend of Zelda game. I want to ride a speederbike through the forests of Endor and help stop the Empire.
So, needless to say, I sometimes feel like Frodo or Belle before their adventures began. I want to do something great, but I live this common, provincial life. Don’t get me wrong. Life is exciting and plenty of great things happen, but there are also plenty of moments when it feels mundane: get up, teach the children (as my brother likes to say), come home to grade papers, make dinner, go to bed, repeat.
Sometimes stories make those mundane moments feel painfully mundane. But I think that’s also part of what makes writing so rewarding. I can be part of the epic adventures, even when my life doesn’t feel so epic. And those moments that do feel epic inspire me even more and help me remember that I’m an important part of a larger Epic.
The final part of the challenge: Invite 10 others to play too.
I have a confession: I always feel like the awkward friend inviting people to a party when we reach this part of challenges, which is part of the reason it took a while for me to finish this post. So I apologize now if this does make me the awkward friend, but know that if you’re listed below, it’s because I enjoy your blog and think that you would bring your own unique touch to the challenge. :)
Now that it’s your turn, here’s what to do:
- Make a list of 10 things you love
- Make a list of 10 things you hate
- Nominate 10 bloggers to do the same
No theme for the posts required. I just did it because it fit my style best. :)