Writing Exercise

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1. List your five favorite books.
Childhood Favorites:

  • Heidi
  • Naria series
  • The Lady by Anne McCaffery
  • Jane Eyre
  • Pern series by McCaffery
  • The complete works of Shakespeare
  • William Blake poetry

Adult Favorites

  • Charles de Lint
  • The Wood Wife by Terri Windling
  • Solitaire by Kelly Eskridge
  • Jane Eyre
  • Ursula le Guin

2. Find the common themes on your list.

Coming of age and triumph of the human spirit. I’m drawn to broken and suffering characters that refuse to give up, people that are thrust into extraordinary circumstances and learn to do better then they thought they were able.

3. Reflect on the stories from your childhood.

My childhood read like a lifetime movie. My mother was kidnapped and held as a hostage when my father’s bank was robbed when I was 8. We learned to always lock doors and set alarms after that even if it might not have stopped anything if we’d done the same before. At 12 my mother, sister, and I were in a horrible car accident on the way to the beach. My mother was severely injured and spent years getting over her injuries. A year or two later my father lost his job and we learned how to get by with less. My father went back to school and my mother changed jobs and continued to heal. Now she is retired and a fitness instructor, you would never imagine she was in a wheelchair for over a year at one point. My father went back to school and got his masters and got a better job. Now he’s only a few years from retirement and planning to travel the country in an RV, something I would never have imagined. Our family motto seems to be keep moving, we never even considered letting our circumstances stop us.

4. Study the overlapping links between your lists.It is where your most powerful inner stories reside. These are the stories of your heart. If your lists do not connect and you’re struggling with your writing, this may explain the problem. Don’t write to the market. It’s fickle and ever-changing. You should be telling stories you fell compelled to write. That’s where your passion lies.

I’m drawn to the character that grows with the story learning that she needs to try to do better to improve her life. I wrote this in my first book but have been leaning down other paths recently. It might be time I got back to this theme.

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