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, March 19, 2019

What’s the Cost to Your Protagonist to Accomplish a Goal? #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Everyone makes choices. People are a sum of the choices they’ve made in life. But each choice usually costs them something. Think about your own personal choices. Are you married? Then you are making a commitment to love and honor your spouse and not someone else. Do you have children? Then you’re making a commitment to care and educate them in their lifetime. Are you religious? Did you choose a career? All of these choices cost you something to commit to. Relationships and careers take time and effort to deal with the problems that come up in life.

In fiction or memoir, our protagonists must make choices in their story lives that cost them something in return. It must cost the protagonist to change internally or externally or even deal with a plot problem. Does she get what she’s after? The goal must cost her something, emotionally or physically, to attempt it.
Think about Kathryn Stockett’s novel The Help. One of the main protagonists is a young white woman who wants to be a writer, Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan. It’s the early 1960’s, and Phelan’s mother wants her to get married and have babies, like Phelan’s friends. There is so much to unpack in this novel. I’m going to choose one tiny piece. Phelan chooses to write a book about the horrible treatment of “colored” maids in the Deep South. This takes much effort and time for Phelan, and she requires assistance to gather the information. But her choice to compose this book costs her the love of a man she had initially wanted a meaningful relationship with. It also costs her acceptance in the neighborhood. In fact, Phelan ends up moving north to be a writer.  
So what does it cost Victoria to choose to begin college as a mother of five?

The major cost is time with her family. This affects others. And it hinges on another cost for Victoria. Internally, because she struggles with feelings of inferiority, and works twice as hard just to keep up in college, Victoria can’t seem to relax or take a break. So Victoria believes she’s wasting time and effort that could be spent making life better for her family.
No, she can’t be the Mom she was before attempting college, spending most of her downtime with the children. She needs time to study if she wants to show those children how to be successful. Her children need to mature enough to understand this. So does her husband. And, most importantly, so does Victoria. She must learn to stop worrying about taking too much time away from family because she learns differently and studies constantly.

Please feel free to offer any insight regarding the costs in this college journey. It would be truly appreciated.

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, March 5, 2019

Insecure Writers Want to Know: Whose perspective do you like to write from, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? Why?

            Ooo! What a juicy question. Since I write predominately YA short adventure stories, I’m mostly in the mindset of the protagonist, the young teen who will change the most and be the hero of the story. In a lot of my adventure stories, the physical antagonist is a wild animal or weather or natural phenomenon, like an avalanche or a fire. That’s not to say I don’t have a sibling or bully causing external problems too. There also needs to be an internal “antagonist” of sorts in the form of something bothering the protagonist; like a personal fear or lack of courage to do something, or an unwillingness to change.

Even so with such a tight word count, usually 1800 words, I only have word space for one perspective.

            So how does the writer get the perspective of the antagonist onto the page when writing on a limited word count?

            The writer does this through the protagonist’s perspective. The protagonist projects his or her own feelings about the bully, the mean sibling, that natural phenomenon, or even the protagonist’s personal fear to the reader. In other words, the protagonist interprets what all the action, inner struggle, or problems mean to the protagonist, who’s driving the story and must solve the story problem, especially in children’s fiction.

In order to go beneath the surface of the story, the reader needs to see how the action or problems, affect one person—the protagonist. If the writer chooses to write through the perspective of the antagonist, the story needs to be affecting the antagonist the most.  

            As a writer, which character is more interesting to speak as; the protagonist or the antagonist? Again, I think it’s important to see how what’s happening in the story affects each of those characters. It’s what the story actually means to a character that adds depth to the story, that helps the readers connect with the character. Ultimately, that’s what makes the story distinctive.       

I can’t wait to see whose perspective you prefer to write through and why. Thanks for visiting! Please follow Adventures in Writing if you haven’t already and connect with me online. Leave your blog link in your comment so I can be sure to do the same for you.

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