Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Chain - Journeys

I want to start off by saying that I officially hate being last. I'm the last link in the chain started by Sandra and this round's topic left me feeling like a very small fish in an ocean-sized pond.

The question for this round:

What kind of journeys do your characters make? What effects do they have on the characters and the plot? Also, if you wish, please tell us about one of your personal journeys and how it changed you.

As I read the posts before me I gulped down a golf ball sized knot. I'm as organic as it comes as far as my writing's concerned. Armed with nothing but a high school diploma and a decent grasp of grammar and the written word, I've always felt like I was a natural writer rather than trained at--well--anything. Ask my crit partners and they'll tell you, sometimes I need some leading.

Though my characters experience some sort of emotional journey, the journeys that they tend to take are physical. My characters actually experience a physical transformation by the end of the book. In my first book, Aura, the main character develops a super-human ability that by the end of the book changes her physically. She does, however, become a stronger woman emotionally as a result of the physical transformation and the journey she had to take to accept that change in her.

In my current "love" and novel that I have out on submission, the main character changes into a completely different creature by the end of the book, but during the course of her transformation she softens up emotionally, becoming a more caring person by the time her journey ends.

As I sit here, chiding myself for not being smarter, not being a better plotter, not being an outliner and a novel writing/character developing genius, I realize that I use the physical journey as a catalyst for the emotional journey. I also know that that there's probably something metaphorical about all of that, but as my brain is fried from a daunting volleyball season, it hurts too much to think about that. ;)

My own personal journey began with an extreme physical transformation. Pregnancy at 16 was not something my body was prepared for, let alone my psyche. I walked the high school halls, hyper-aware of my changed physical state while I showed emotional composure, never letting on that I knew I was different in any way, shape or form. But I was. My life was changing with each day and each growing inch. Flutters graduated to kicks while I graduated from student-without-a-care to soon-to-be-mom, responsible for another life. And with the birth of my daughter, that physical transformation brought about a permanent change emotionally. I had to grow up to a certain extent. I had to reassess my priorities. I would never again be that smiling, seemingly perky girl, who was good at sounding like she didn't have a clue.

I had become--me.

Check out Kate's post before mine, and please feel free to share your own personal or literary journeys with me. I love a dusty road!


Susan R. Mills said...

Great post! I think our own journeys definitely play a part in the journeys of our characters.

Suzanne said...

Beautiful! I saw the journey in the post!

ElanaJ said...

Very true. I haven't read all of your stuff, but I like using the physical to transform the emotional.

Eric said...

Great post. I haven't tried using a physical change for a MC, but I like the idea.

Oh, and just so you don't feel alone, I am also one of those high school graduates with a decent grasp of grammar. God help us both :D

christine said...

Excellent post Amanda!

Sandra said...

I like how your characters' experiences mirror your own physical/emotional journey.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Amanda.

Reading this made me remember all the journeys I had taken without even realizing--I'd turn around, look behind me, and marvel how far along I've come.

But that's what progress is, right? For us *and* our characters.

Sharla said...

My characters always hit emotional bottom in some way and have to work their way back up.

And I never thought about the parallel until your comment about how your characters transform physically like you did.

I hit bottom twice and had to crawl my way back up, so maybe there's something to that theory!


Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Wow - awesome post! Having a physical transformation lead to an internal one is very cool, and just makes a lot of sense overall. Love how you tied this into your personal story as well!

kat said...

Being last does suck, but you did an awesome job.

Cole Gibsen said...

Beautiful post, Mandy! I think a writer is anyone who puts pen to paper. Degrees are overrated.

B.J. Anderson said...

For being last, you certainly kicked this topic's behind. :D Great post, Amanda, and great take on the question.

Michelle McLean said...

I agree with Cole :D I learned more about writing from my fellow writers and just doing it myself than I ever did in a classroom.

I also think that many emotional journeys are spurred the the physical ones. Great post!

Rebecca Knight said...

Mandy, this was really moving :). Thank you for sharing that piece of your life with us!

Sarah Bromley said...

Excellent post! You physicality and the alteration in your body can greatly impact the development of your personality and emotions. Spot on, girl. :)