11 April 2012

A Writer's Journey - The Wounded Soul

I purchased "The Writer's Journey" two years ago and only read the first chapter. I've finished it now and I wish I had read it when I bought it! It brings a better understanding of why some characters work and others do not. It turned out to be a great book.

One interesting thing I learned from this book is that absence of a "character wound" can really make a great hero into just another ordinary protagonist. I never thought about this before. Why would any reader care what happens to your character? We are immune to violence and catastrophic events in print and in the news, so writing fiction is no different. However, we are not immune to a wound in the human soul.

It's like reading a headline, "Woman Killed in Lakeshore Apartment Complex." Okay, this perks our interest because we want to know who the victim was, how old she was, maybe, and did she know the person who killed her. We open up to read the story and discover that this woman left behind a child with Downs Syndrome and two adopted children from Indonesia. It tells something about the woman and her soul, so now we care. Therein lies the tragedy. It's not in the story; it's in the bigger meaning of what really happened.

My main character is Kelly Cooper, a street cop turned detective. While the real story unfolds, I reveal her past service in the United States Marine Corps. She served in Iraq where she lost a partner in a car bombing. She was too weak to pull him from a ton of rubble before he bled to death.

Who are your main characters and what wounds do they bare on their souls?

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