But more than that, you are a soul. And the beauty of your soul is like a piece of a mosaic. Put the pieces of every soul together, and you have a stunning view of what makes us all tick. That mosaic is where the purest of empathy, compassion, and understanding live.
And that’s why we need your story.
The Open University’s e-book Start Writing Fiction: Characters and Stories reveals ways you can put yourself into your stories. Let’s explore four ways:
First, know that you are what makes your stories original.
The Open University says, “Observing precisely how something appears to you, or how it might appear in the eyes of one of your characters, will often result in you writing something original. How? Because every person observes or perceives things – the world, themselves – in a different way” (17%).
How I wish I could see the world from your eyes—if only for a day! How different would your thoughts be from mine if you, like me at this moment, were lying on the floor, in the dark, writing an article on your cellphone keypad, thoughts fluttering to family who have disowned you, you sending them forgiveness and unconditional love, while you feel happy and at peace with the world? We need the book only you can write—to feel your world through our soul.
Second, write your stories with what makes you tick.
The Open University writes, “Reflecting on who you are and what sort of material you want to write about is an important and ongoing part of the writing process, not least because you will be more motivated by characters and storylines which embody topics that are important to you” (35%).
So, “note down a ‘menu’ of what you consider to be your overall ‘concerns’. This exercise aims … to help you to become clearer about the kinds of things that matter to you, that are likely to be your overall subject matter … when you write” (34%).
My biggest concerns would include:
- The Lord.
- The beauty of every spiritual belief system and every living soul.
- Unconditional love and loving kindness meditation.
- Forgiveness and accountability.
- Selfless serving.
- Ambition in face of failure.
- A desire to help others shine most brightly.
- A need to build skills and to share gifts.
But all that may not mean one iota to you. Or it may matter deeply to you. Whatever makes you tick, it’s your calling to write about it. Share your gifts, right?
Third, ask “What if?” questions, and answer in your unique way.
The Open University says, “Asking ‘What if?’ can help you to get from having an idea about a character you want to write about to developing a plot. For example, you might ask: What if at one time the straight-laced schoolteacher worked in the circus?” (33%).
‘What if?’ questions can turn a stereotypical character into an unexpected one. And you are an original and unexpected character. Even your job title sets you apart. But what part of your past makes you more fascinating than any title? Now apply that something spectacular to your character. You’re wonderful for a reason!
Fourth, craft a plot from most any scenario, blending it with your own experiences and interests.
According to The Open University, “What causes your character to do things or to be the way they are – will give you plot. But how do you develop that plot? [Look at] this example: ‘A woman on the bus today carried her Pekinese dog inside her handbag. It had a red bow on its head that matched her sweater.’ Now consider: Why was she on the bus? Why did she have the dog and where was she taking it? Why did she look the way she did? Why did the dog have a red bow?” (32%).
One possible answer is that “perhaps she is taking the dog to be put down at the vet’s, and is so upset about having to do so that she decides not to drive, and is taking the bus for the first time in ten years” (32%).
Find a twist that draws what’s important to you personally into your plot.
I’d write the story with this view: The Pekinese dog was a rescue dog, dying of mange in India. The dog’s heart-crushing story made the Internet, which the woman watched. So she adopted the dog from overseas. The woman, with a small inheritance to her name, aims to make the animal, Missy, a top show dog.
On the bus, she and Missy are returning home from a stint at the dog groomers. Soon she’ll feed Missy her daily raw meat and veggies diet. No dog food for this pup.
That’s a story I’d like to write. More than that, that’s what I’d do if I’d adopted a dog. I watch YouTube clips on rescued dogs from Animal Aid Unlimited, and I watch Gohan the Husky get fed a raw food diet—lamb, chicken feet, beef, carrots, blueberries—hence my inspirations.
What we consume in media truly shapes who we are. And that’s where great plots lie.
Yes, your soul reveals a stunning piece of the mosaic. So, let us slip away into your unique story. In other words, it’s time to write!