Youth Fiction Author and Illustrator's Official Blog Page

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Write as example, not as personal therapy


by Kevin Scott Collier

Much of what we write about is derived from things we have witnessed or experienced personally in life. We all do this, because writing is an expression, and expression often deals with impressions. And, impressions come from how we feel.

Even the most juvenile books I have written, there is an observation in there harvested from or discarded upon the trail sides of the journey. The trail we traverse and the thoughts along the way trickle into even the most innocent of stories we write.

The issues that impact us most as writers come from the cruel times. These are often situations that close in on us personally. Some of these developments we have created, others we stumble into. They are often irrational episodes seemingly without beneficial merit. Years later, clear of crisis, we ponder these events and glean them for messages or reason.

There have been more than a few houses made of cards that have collapsed upon me over the past decade. But, I crawled out from it, dusted myself off, and remained inspired. The pathway ahead continues. Look back for good material, but don’t miss what awaits you up the road.

Writing about good messages emerging from bad situations makes for strong and moving fiction stories. I have often written fictional accounts that bare some likeness to those situations I went through, but focus more on how the lemon became refreshing lemonade. Today’s book drama parallel is yesterday’s reality. It’s now a tool to write from.

The danger is when writers still carry around that baggage from those cruel and unusual moments in life and use it to dwell instead of educate. A reader will know if your story is personal “issue” therapy. Use your emotions to squeeze a piece of coal into a glistening diamond, not just to treat old battle wounds.

I once wrote a whimsical children’s book titled “Ragmutt about a dog that ended up at the bottom of a dry well. He couldn’t get out because he was actually a rag doll, thus had no bones or muscles to crawl out. So, he just lay there and imagined he was in a gold mine, and all the gold was his. He never even attempted to climb out. Someone eventually rescued him, but Ragmutt still fondly dreamed of being in that well.

When you don’t even try to rescue yourself you begin to accept your surroundings as “just the way it is.” It’s never about what was, or is, but what can be.

Use those cruel and defeating experiences from life to rise up out of the well of despair. Use those experiences to extend a hand down the well to engage the next rescue. Real life experiences create compelling stories when twisted into fictional scenarios. Just don’t let the fiction become therapy. Wear it like a surviving shining suit of armor.

3 comments:

Taffy said...

A pleasure to read, especially the part about Ragmutt. I'm not a very good blogger and I'm trying my best to maintain my one blog. You, on the hand, have about 3-4 blogs. That's incredible!

Macromoments said...

Kevin, I followed your website to this blog, after you joined WritersView. I enjoyed this post a lot, and agree with this observation:

"The danger is when writers still carry around that baggage from those cruel and unusual moments in life and use it to dwell instead of educate. A reader will know if your story is personal “issue” therapy. Use your emotions to squeeze a piece of coal into a glistening diamond, not just to treat old battle wounds. "

How very true. Thanks for the insight.

iamnasra said...

This is really eductaing thank you for taking time to provide such info..I use to dwell on past but hence it time to go forward