A couple of young people have been running around in my head, and I had to get them out on paper this week. I’m just getting to know them so they aren’t fully developed, but I find myself in both of them.
The girl is from a single-parent family. (Her father was a pub-crawler in England and abandoned his wife and daughter.) Her mistaken belief is that she has to take care of everything herself. She can’t depend on anyone for anything. I was raised by a widowed mother who did take care of everything herself, so I know how this girl looks at the world and why her belief is mistaken.
The boy doesn’t have great self-esteem, but he’s very dependable. He has an irresponsible friend he has to keep out of trouble. So my boy is going to get caught up in mischief that he would never even think of or participate in if it wasn’t for his friend. My younger brother was able to find trouble when he went looking for it, and I worked to keep him on the ‘straight and narrow.’ I know this point of view and how my young man feels.
I can see myself growing from the writing of this book. Not that I’m a teenager needing to find myself, but some of my deep-seated issues are similar to these characters. What fun to unravel their stories and grow myself from the experience.
What about you? Can you see yourself in the characters you plot? Do you find yourself growing from the experience of writing about them?
John Truby in his Anatomy of Story suggests that a writer will never go wrong if he writes something that will change his life. Do any of you write about issues that you have had or are in the middle of now? I’d be interested to hear your take on this subject.