Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I need therapy

Let me clarify... I need novel therapy. I need story structure therapy. I need help!

I can't figure out what my story is about. Like down deep.

When people ask I usually reply its about a girl who wants to change her school and get rid of bullying.

Sometimes I say it's about a girl overcoming tragedy and realizing it doesn't have to define her life.

Other times I say other stuff that is rambly and incoherent. (Okay, most times.)

Inside my own head I don't have a defined theme to my novel. This is a problem.

At a recent critique session I gave my first answer about the bullying, but was met with blank stares, so I quickly added "Her boyfriend was killed in an accident because of bullying." Click, click, click all the light bulbs went on above my critique buddies' heads. Suddenly there was a motivation attached to the story of a girl who wants to rid her school of bullying. The satisfaction was fleeting for me, though, because my MC doesn't really know in the beginning what caused the accident. It can't be her motivation. Sadly, I was still without a viable story theme.

I needed help, so...

With my manuscript crisis in hand, I went to lie/lay (??) on Writer Friend Tamara's book psychiatrist's couch (sat on a chair at her dining room table). She got me digging. Digging deep passed/past (??) the layers of surface story to its very core. She asked me about plot points and was grueling. But I discovered my story is about a girl and forgiveness.

It was a startling revelation. It changed how I look at my story. I still struggle with structure, but I try to always go back to that one truth about my story. Forgiveness.

And to those of you who have received different answers when you've asked what my story is about or you have read parts of my story and now you're saying "Forgiveness? What the...huh?" Just bear with me.

Book therapy. I recommend it.

[This blog is a total rerun...I posted it yesterday at Recycle, reuse...right?]


Marilyn said...

I need life therapy. Know anyone that has a sofa for that?

Anonymous said...

Love the cartoon, love the story, will love the book even though it is not in my usual reading genre!

I haven't visited here for a long time - but you'll hear from me again soon.

barbara b


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