Normally I don’t share much about my Prankster Duo, namely because they believe its equivalent to sharing naked baby in the sink (or on the rug) pictures. Yet, this particular happening had me thinking about what writing really means to me.
Here’s the background: One of my friends is mom to one of their friends. This young man matches the Prankster Duo in their love all things electronic. But where mine find their artistic outlet in audio/visual for one, and mechanical design for the other, their friend finds his in writing.
His mom, knowing I write, asked if I would take the time to talk to him.
Um, sure? I know all about being a teenage writer, but I was a girl, and well, teenage boys are still a strange creature to me (and I have two). But writing recognizes no boundaries, so yes, I could share some writing tips.
Actually, she persisted, do you mind sharing with him why you write?
Okay, that’s pretty personal, but she’s my friend and her son is a sweetie, so I’m sure I can manage it. Of course, considering her question, I had to ask, Why?
Beacuse he feels maybe something is wrong with him, because he made the mistake of sharing something he wrote with a friend who told him he was weird.
Okay, but writers are weird, it’s why we write people. So yeah, I can let him know he’s not alone out there. So the next time the boyos were hanging out, I invited him and his mom to my writer cave. First I had to figure out where he was in the process (900 pages of world building/character development/possible story arcs).
*blinking* Ooookkkaaay. *deep breath* Instead of diving into do you know who your characters are? What story are you trying to tell? What are they facing that’s so interesting that you have to share this story? I decided to change tactics.
Do you know what a story bible is? (Nope). Let me show you. So began a show and tell of how to organize your worlds/characters/story arcs into a cohesive whole with an acutal story bible I created before Scrivner stepped into my life. Then I showed him all the magic that is Scrivner.
We chatted about story development, character motivation, I shared a couple of workbooks so he could get it coralled. Then, I decided to broach the real concern behind his mom’s intentions. So, you’re friends think your stories are weird. (Uncomfortable shrug, and a mumbled explaniation that’s it just what’s in his head).
I wanted to hug him, but that would cause a major embarrassment meltdown. Instead, I shrugged back. “You know what, those stories, they’re yours. You tell them the way you see them in your head and don’t you worry about what anyone is going to think about you. Here’s the thing, every writer uses their stories to explore aspects of things they’re feeling/dealing with. It doesn’t mean, that the murder mystery writer is out there plotting someone’s death, but they will delve into what true rage may make a the average joe do. I do dark urban fantasy. My characters aren’t skipping through roses and riding unicorns. Generally they’re the ones hunting the unicorns. My characters are not smiles and sunlight. No one is always smiles and sunlight.”
By this point, he’s actually paying attention, no signs of his previous embarassment. So I kept going.
“The story in your head is real to you because you’re trying to explore something you’re feeling and to do that you’ve created a character who can do that safely. In the end, when your story is done, maybe you’ll have figured out what was tweaking at you. It doesn’t make you weird, it just means you’re a writer.”
He smiled, reilef visble to both his mom and me.
Afterwards, my own words stuck around. Wish someone had shared the same thing with me when I was younger.
I started writing at twelve when I moved in with my mom and dad after escaping a sexually/physically abusive situation. My mom handed me a journal telling me it was somewhere I could keep what was running through me head in. So I did. In those pages I would spill all my darkest thoughts, purging them onto paper, while in reality I had to learn not to be a people pleaser, to fight for my own wants/needs and not back down. On printed paper, I raged, I fought, I won. Each and every time.
None of my stories had normal, happy characters. Each had something they were struggling with–circumstances, emotional pitfalls, something. It took awhile for me to accept that these stories were mine to share because in the end, my character rage, fight and win. Every time.
And that’s why I write.