Stepping into the forest of my mind

Stepping into the forest of my mind
Just as every journey begins with a first step, every story begins with the first word.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

What is the Aha Moment in Fiction or Memoir #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Lisa Cron, in her Story Genius course, states that your protagonist’s “aha moment” near the end of your novel is when the protagonist finally overcomes her misbelief. This is where your novel makes its point. A writer needs to know the point she is trying to make in her story to be sure each scene is focused on that point.

If I analyze my college journey experience, I notice that throughout my experience I am the mother of five children first and a college student second. My life has always been about the parenting of my children.

            This brought me back to how my parents raised me and my brother and sisters. It made me reconsider deeply my father’s words in the origin scene. You can find my post on origin scene here.   
“What makes you think you’re smart enough for college, Vic?”

Because Victoria struggled in her early education, her father felt he was saving his daughter from possible failure in life. Perhaps he thought he could save all his children from failure by choosing an easier path for them; a path, he thought, without unnecessary struggle; a path, it seemed, without a college education in it.

Victoria’s initial interpretation of the origin scene was that those who struggle in school should not go to college because they’d have a higher risk for failure.

But what if Victoria realizes near the end of her college journey that success in college doesn’t depend only on how quickly you learn but rather on your determination to succeed? Doubt and fear of failure are a part of life. Many people struggle to better themselves. Parents shouldn’t keep their children from attempting new and difficult goals solely to keep them safe from the risk of failure. We must realize our full potential, and to do this, many need to struggle; like Victoria does in her quest for a college diploma.  

Maybe becoming a parent myself solidified my work ethic. Perseverance matters in life. Those who struggle early in their education learn this as they move through life. Perseverance can overcome obstacles. Victoria learns this through her college journey. She learns differently. Others may learn faster, but Victoria keeps chipping away at education and understanding of course material to receive her Bachelor of Arts degree from an Ivy League university.

The takeaway message to readers could be:
Effort counts in life as in college.
Perseverance matters.
Don’t let fear and doubt keep you from your goals.

*In your opinion, which sentence encapsulates what Victoria has learned from the info I provided above?*  

While researching concrete evidence about what Victoria learned during her ten-year college journey, I came across two great TED talks:
Angela Lee Duckworth defines “grit” as passion and perseverance for long-term goals.
And Dr. Carol Dweck speaks of a belief called the “growth mindset” and how we can improve in learning.

            In memoir as in fiction, the protagonist needs to deal with her misbelief scene by scene by scene in order to earn her “aha moment,” that point in the story where the protagonist discovers that her misbelief is in fact a misbelief. This is usually an “internal realization” according to Lisa Cron in Story Genius, an internal realization that is prompted by an event in a fiction story or memoir. Thanks for reading.

And thank you for visiting Adventures in Writing. Please follow my blog if you haven’t already and connect with me online. Leave your blog link in the comment so I can be sure to do the same for you. To continue hopping through more amazing blogs or to join our Author Toolbox blog hop, click here.            

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Insecure Writers Want to Know: When your writing life is filled with rain, What do you do to dig down and keep writing?

Please understand that any time I’m struggling with my writing, it pours. Thunder and lightning included. Hail, many times. I mean the storm clouds just won’t leave me alone. My children and husband even scatter! It isn’t pretty. Eeyore has nothing on me.

But I try to convince myself that I’m not alone. Drenched souls don’t mind sharing umbrellas or fluffy beach towels. That’s why I treasure IWSG. I’d be lost without you guys!

The first thing I try to do is remain at my desk, fingers at the ready on the keyboard, eyes focused on the computer screen. I turn off any outside noise. If only I could find that hidden off switch on the children!
Then I attempt to inhabit the story or memoir situation, asking myself:
If I were the protagonist, what would I do?
How would I feel?
What would I remember to help me cope with the present day action of the story?
What meaning would the story action have for me?

However when the rain is really pelting me, it’s time to save my work and close the document. Then turn to other writers to learn. Mostly this means reading stories and blog posts, essays and how-to books, and listening to the writing gurus’ podcasts.
But in so doing, I try to remind myself that they, too, might have struggled to write their stories or posts or essays or memoirs or podcasts.

When I can’t see where to go in my story or memoir, I turn off the computer and take my brain outside. The weather doesn’t matter. I’m really just thinking and walking; looking at the real world to be able to make sense of my fictitious world or the past memoir world that I’ve lived. I’m taking my eyes away from the page; noticing the sky and the trees; smelling the flowers and the earth; listening to the song of the birds and my thoughts. I’m a concrete thinker. I need to understand the logic of what’s happening before I can transcribe it into story or memoir.

 As I return to my work and my computer, I consider any knowledge that I might need in order to move forward in the story or memoir. I’m talking about research here. And while I believe in the power of the library or any expert interviews you may be able to acquire, the internet is a fine place to begin a research campaign.
Now I don’t know about you, but I need to remind myself that I’m working here and not get interested in what’s happening on social media or suddenly want to discover what my favorite movie star is up to or the royals. I try to console myself saying it’s only because I don’t know where to go in my WIP. Yet, I’m a writer. There’s a time to play and a time to work.

Writers work incredibly hard to make their creation a reality. How do you climb out of the mud puddles of your WIP when you don’t know how to proceed? Humor me please. I’ve moved to higher ground and still I’m drowning trying to make sense of my college memoir.

Thank you for visiting Adventures in Writing. Please follow my blog if you haven’t already and connect with me online. Leave your blog link in the comment so I can be sure to do the same for you.

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s SupportGroup. We post on the first Wednesday of every month.  To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.