Another first. I read the first chapter of my novel (Riveted) to my writing group today. I was nervous because Riveted is so important to me, but I’m glad I took the leap. There was generally positive feedback (good for my soul) and some very insightful advice (good for my writing). While I won’t be taking every piece of advice provided, their feedback helped to identify a few areas for work and additions that I wouldn’t have found on my own. (Thanks guys and gals.)
I have a long weekend ahead of me in which I plan to write, write and write. With luck and hard work I hope to have the second draft complete by the end of the long weekend. Whew, I guess this is the hard work part that other writers are always talking about. I’m glad to say that through the hard work I’m still having fun.
Ok, now for the zombies. Today I read a story on CBC that I had to share…There is a university in Michigan that has a course on surviving the zombie apocalypse. No joke. Apparently the course is actually focused on human reactions to catastrophic events, and the zombie thing is just a part of the course. But that’s enough to get me hooked. Sign me up. This sort of course was what I was always looking for when I took my anthropology degree.
Zombie stories are popular right now. I believe that popularity has a lot to do with our need to find heroes. Sure, zombies are fun and scary but what’s really compelling about these stories, for me, is how the humans in them react to the threat; the emergence of heroes. Finding a way to make your characters heroic can be a challenging and rewarding experience that will teach you a lot about your character and your writing.
Heroism is not the same for every person. For one person it could be leaping in front of a moving truck to save a child. For another it could be walking away from a loved one, allowing them to move on. Heroic acts can be dramatic or quiet; public or anonymous, but they make readers love the character. Zombies aside, how can you test your characters? What challenge can you give them that will cause them to re-evaluate their goals and become heroic. For thirty minutes write about the worst possible situation for your character, then make it worse and watch them react. Happy writing.