Friday, November 7, 2008


I got my weekly writing lesson from an unlikely source this week. The election. Candidate Obama has been talking about change. A lot. For months. So much so that the word seemed to have no meaning. Another politician's meaningless rhetoric. I think Americans had begun to believe that change was impossible.

Until President-elect Obama gave his acceptance speech, that is. Maybe because I was listening in a new way, with an open mind and heart, I found the speech inspiring. Whatever the reason, I got it. Change was, is, possible. Change is the greatest opportunity our freedoms allow us. No other country in the world encourages--and facilitates--change as much as the good old US of A.

Every time we open a book, we're looking for, expecting the characters to change. We read to experience the visceral life-changing experiences. We want to feel the raw emotion, the fear and the joy. The scariness of the back alley, the elation of discovering the Lost Ark, the blind happiness of holding your newborn.

As authors, we must put our characters through the conflicts that change them. We must produce new people by the end of our stories. We must have tempered them with heat that will morph them into new shapes. Our characters must change.

All hail America. Long may she change.


Linda O. Johnston said...

You're so right, Terri. Life is an adventure, always filled with changes. We need to be ready for ourselves, or our characters, to grasp the changes and use them to propel us or our readers to the next exciting challenge. Let's hope all the pending changes in our country help us over the worst of hurdles fast!

Camille Minichino said...

I've been resisting joining the political turn to our blog all week — but what is America about if not the right to voice an opinion, even a dissenting one?

The change I'm seeing is not good. Maybe the end will justify the means, but the process this year was depressing to me. We might just as well have gone directly to American Idol instead of having a campaign and election: Speeches without substance and media-annointed celebrity prevailed.

Political views are important and woven into the fabric of our lives, but maybe we should take this discussion outside, as they say. If not, I'm willing to contribute my thoughts and reasoning.

Terri Thayer said...

Oh, no. I didn't mean to talk about politics. I'm sick and tired of the whole thing. I completely support your right to a dissenting opinion but I'm plum tuckered out of talking. I want action!

Let's keep it to writing. How to write compelling characters that are going through changes.

Camille Minichino said...

I should have addressed comments to that part of your blog, too, Terri -- nice piece on character arcs. Thanks!

Terri Thayer said...

No worries.

Betty Hechtman said...

I think it's pretty hard not to let the election trickle into everyone's blog this week.