Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Messiness and Writing

Real life is messy.

And I don't mean the kitchen counter with papers, a tap shoe, jam, and books spread all over it kind of messy, although at my house that happens too.

I mean the "oops, I lost my phone book and didn't invite three Aunts, 2 cousins and one friend to the 4th of July party and now I have half the family offended" messy, or "the moment when someone I respect just rubs me the wrong way like sandpaper on skin and I know it's not their fault, but I'm still stinging anyway" kind of messy.

These are moments that I often agonize over, or want to just ignore, or fix, or over-analyze.

But they happen anyway. They are a part of life, and human relationships. Mistakes get made, things are forgotten or lost. Someone makes the wrong remark too many times.

Yesterday, I agonized and prayed over some moments like that.

Then I woke up this morning, thinking about my writing, and wondered,
What can I do with that mess, other than stew over it?

and What does the messiness of real life have to do with writing stories?

Hmm. Well, I think it goes into creating authentic characters that feel real, because they have messes in their lives. They don't have perfection. I admit I like suphero stories and epic fantasy stories, but even there I am secretly thankful when the heroes and heroines are flawed, when they have a little mess in their lives.

So, today, I'm going to create a little more messiness for my characters to deal with in their story. Something they can learn and grow from, and not just stew over, I hope.

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love." 1 Corinthians 16:13


Angie said...

Yep, unfortunately life is messy. I think your right about messiness in our stories too. It does make them feel more real and the characters more relatable.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Messy characters are fun! Even better to mess with them and make it worse.

Keena said...

Just a side note, WInnie the Pooh has a new movie out in theathers soon.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Angie - I noticed your characters in your short stories always have a little "messy" moment in their story - something they can learn and grow from during the story.

Alex - love the way you state that "even better to mess with them."

Keena - cool! My kids won't go see it in the theatre, but I'll watch it. Sigh. I wish Pooh was still cool for my girls, but I am still a fan.