Sunday, November 7, 2010

What Are Your Issues?


Photo courtesy of Gregory Szarkiewicz

Do you have issues that you’re dealing with in your life? Do you want to dig deeper, giving your stories more intense plots and emotional conflicts? If you want to give your stories more steam, propelling them forward, giving you the momentum to actually finish writing your book, then you need to bring those issues into your novel!

I often meet people online and at writers’ conferences who tell me that they’ve started writing a project, but can’t finish it. What’s usually helped me to finish a story is to write about something that sparks my interest, and that usually involves writing about issues and concerns that have affected my life and the lives of my loved ones.

Alcoholism is something that has been a part of a lot of my friends and family members’ lives, and, I noticed, that it was an issue that kept popping up in my books. When you place your issues into your own novels, you might find the steam and the gumption to keep going, to keep writing, until you type those magical words: THE END.

Another issue that I’ve included in my novels is financial dishonesty. I’ve noticed that due to my personal experiences, I get emotional when dealing with my finances and the finances of others. I dig as deep as I can and try to bring those emotions into the pages of my novel.

It’s good to start with emotional issues and then you can add more things that you enjoy while creating your story. I’ve always had a fondness for good-tasting food, and I’ve had a number of people tell me that reading my books makes them hungry!

So think about your life, your issues, and your interests. Layer them throughout your book and I can almost guarantee that you’ll want to finish that tale – and you’ll be passionate about your story, too!

What makes you happy, sad, angry, or upset? Figure it out, and throw those emotions into your writing!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

13 comments:

Leola Harris said...

When I look at white paper, my thoughts disappear. Should I know what to write about before I get to the computer??? Thanks for the link.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Hi, Leola. Thanks for commenting and for visiting Writers' Rest. Think of something that makes you angry, mad, upset or happy. Maybe, in your case, instead of writing the book, you might want to start writing about those emotional experiences in a journal or something? It's just a suggestion. How would your character work through those issues? Are there certain places, things, situations or issues that spark a really big emotional response within you? Write about it! Let me know how it goes!

Dulce said...

That's exactly what i try my best to do through my poems... good post

Molly Noble Bull said...

I agree with Cecelia. Emotions are important when writing a novel. You gotta have them. I try to write an interesting plot and have my characters react emotionally to what is happening in the story.
Love,
Molly

aarbaugh said...

Great post, Cecelia. Sometimes I need a reminder to do this. It will help with some of the stories I'm working on now. Thanks!

Barbara Phinney said...

The issues in my writing come from trust. I wonder if we are actually trying to cure ourselves through our writings. However, I often get a better understanding of my characters when I listen to my pastor's messages. He strives to face issues we all face. He did that to me this very morning, as I struggled to understand that my heroine needed to forgive the man that abused her.

Katy King said...

I have used a piece of jewelry at times that had an emotional connection, or spoke to me in some way. It seemed to serve the same purpose. Once, it was a moon watch. Another time, a mariner's watch. Hmmmm. I'll have to see what a diamond necklace does . . .

Katy King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teresa Slack said...

I get ideas from my pastor's sermons too. I am currently working on a novel for NaNoWriMo. I thought I knew the story pretty well, but as I get into it, I am finding these people have some serious issues. Mostly family related, of course.

Great advice, Cecelia. When I lose my momentum, it's usually because I'm not deep enuf into the character.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Dulce, it's great that you use this method to write better poetry! Molly, your advice is great about having characters react emotionally to your plot. AAR, glad you enjoyed my post! Barb and Teresa, I, too, have gotten ideas from something that was said during my pastor's sermon at church. Katy, objects can sometimes create an emotional connection. I do have a few items that have been in my possession my entire life. They can create an emotional response within me when I recall using that object over the years. It represents something in my life.

Rhonda McKnight said...

The lack of sisterhood amongst women. That's why I wrote An Inconvenient Friend.

Susan R. Mills said...

This is great advice. Our own passions put the passion in our writing.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

I'm glad you commented, Susan! Yes, think of things that you're passionate about....it can be almost anything...then place that element in your story! Boom...you'll want to finish because you're writing about something that creates a spark of interest for you. You'll want to keep writing that book and you'll probably finish your manuscript, too!