She Said What??!!!

Listen at me over here hollerin'

Everybody Has Choices

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“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

I use this quote by Viktor Frankl to sum up the heart and soul of my book: Choices.  The choices we make, the choices we let others make for us, the choices we walk into and fear that we can’t escape.  Add all of these choices up and you’ve got a plot.  And a character.  And a book (I hope anyway, or else I have to go back to square one on my story theory!).

Whenever I take a “hiatus” from working on the book to make money, it’s always tough to get back into the emotional space the book needs.  I do free-writes, “I” statements (basically just a list of things my character might have been up to “off-screen”), re-read my notes, and journals, and always always always spend time thinking about theme.  What is the book really about?  What am I trying to say?  Why should anybody read this thing?  (OK, that last question is usually the one that sends me straight to a yoga class to get my mind right….)

This time around I’m finding it more productive to think about all the options my girl has open to her.  The whole world is your oyster when you are 18 and independent.  She’s been the person her family wanted her, or forced her to be for almost two decades, but as she struggles forward, she gets to escape that, relive it or make peace with it, or all of the above. Or none of it.  That’s the thing about choices, making them is neutral but the outcomes… yeah, that’s the tricky part, isn’t it?

I have a ton of adventures for her to go through in this difficult middle section of the book.  I started out writing the first chapter and the last chapter, then I wrote a few chapters in the middle, then I went back to the beginning and wrote a couple more chapters, and then looped back to the end and wrote chapters backwards towards the end of the middle, then I went back to the middle and…. OK, you get the picture.  I’m not lost, but I have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do to finish.

I’m setting up a schedule for finishing the book.  I’ve given myself some faux-skeds in the past, but this one is going to be more realistic.  As a writer, I’ve learned enough about myself to undertand how much and how long I can focus on the book, and still juggle the need to do other types of work (mosly the paying kind!).  I love this character, and I love her story and I would love to have others share that love with me!!

So, I’m making a few choices of my own.

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Written by Alyss Dixson

May 7, 2009 at 5:50 pm

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