We, as writers, don’t need to rely on ourselves. We can and should have other friends (especially other writers) come alongside and give us encouragement and support. We need them to help us out when we hit the rough patches or when we think we’re ready to submit something that still needs a little bit more work.
I don’t care who your character is, the same thing is true for them. They need someone to help them. Whether you’re writing about a superhero, a new mom, a teenager, a murderer or a clueless ballerina, at some point, your character is going to need help. And that help can come from an unlikely source.
This struck home with me this weekend when someone told me that a suggestion I made in passing really helped them out. What I said was not anything particularly original or innovative. It was just what he needed to hear.
Help Your Characters
Your characters need that same support.
I realized that today, while working on my NaNo novel. As I remembered what my friend said, I began to question my whole scene.
Sometimes, our characters need that little push we receive in real life. See, my character has trouble relying on others for help. But she needs help. Desperately. And the only person she trusts is the one person she really shouldn’t be trusting. (Forgive her. She’s a teen. And he’s a super hot guy.)
But not wanting help isn’t the same as not needing it. Someone can still come alongside one of your characters and provide the helping hand that he or she needs.
So whether it’s the smile from a stranger, the hot teacher who suggests a more appropriate crush, the friend who calls up out of the blue or the janitor who leaves his keys in the door, think about who’s helping your character – whether they mean to or not.
Who’s helping your character? Is it intentional? How does this affect your story? And more importantly: who’s helping you? Who is helping you navigate the writing life?