Epic Emotions, Heroes & Parallels – Writing From The Heart

I have to be honest… I’ve felt a tremendous need for introspection over the past week or so on things that have nothing to do with my writing—probably because I’m going through a lot of changes.  (Don’t worry, I’ll spare you most of the details.) One way some of my most recent experiences are actually related to my writing, however, is that suddenly I feel more connected to my characters—particularly my heroine.

I remember when I was working on the last couple of scenes in Element 7 during my heavy edits, I felt really emotional about them because, in a way, I was going through some of the same things that my MC (main character) was: heartbreak, confusion, disappointment…

Those are very potent, less-than-desirable experiences, though perhaps going through these things will only serve to make my writing that much more potent.

2012 has been a very dark year for me, actually. (Most will never understand just how dark it truly was for me).  And really, it’s only been in the last couple of months that I’ve felt those dark clouds start to roll away.  The future—my future—doesn’t look quite as…well, bleak as it once did before.  I’d lost a sense of purpose in my life, but lately, I’ve seemed to find some…

The Drifter, by Jack Vettriano.
The Drifter, by Jack Vettriano.

A Call to Action

I’m sure many writers know that there’s a moment in every epic “Hero’s Journey” known as the Call to Action (or Call to Adventure).  (This is relevant because Element 7 is, essentially, a nontraditional hero’s journey.)  Typically, this Call occurs closer to the beginning of a story, but I’m working on a series, and I think my novel actually has two Calls to Action–one near the beginning, and one right at the end.


Well, there’s got to be something to look forward to in the sequel…right?  (‘Course, gotta leave readers wanting more. ;))

Anyway, the reason I’m even bringing this up is because, right now, I feel I’m facing my own “Call to Adventure” starting my own interior design business…and, to be honest, it’s a pretty darn scary place to be.  If I chicken out, then I won’t have a “story” to live out and tell to others; if I answer the call…

…Well, I’ll kinda have to change.

Fact is I can’t continue to be the person I currently am if I want to get to where I want to go in life.  I have to move even more out of my comfort zone than I’ve been doing lately.

Baby steps are great, for a while, but sometimes you just have to take a huge freakin’ leap if you want to get to The Next Level.

You know what I’m sayin’?

Personal (Ironic) Parallels Between Fiction & Reality

So when I first started formulating the basic ideas behind Element 7, I was 19. I’m 24 now.  (Yes, that means it’s been over 5 years since I started working on this thing!)

Ironically, my main character, Voi, is also 24, so I’m just now catching up to her.  Also, ironically, Voi once made the decision to run her own business at a young age.  She’s a bit ahead of me, in some ways, and lately, I haven’t been looking at her as a hero so much as my hero.

Yes, that’s right—I actually look up to a fictional character.

You see, Voi is a lot more outgoing than I am.  She’s not afraid to do something risky—like drop out of college to pursue her love of flight and become a stunt flyer then later an entrepreneur.  She’s not afraid to make mistakes—or rather, she doesn’t let fear stop her from making them.  Also, she’s a bit of a pioneer.

Most entrepreneurs are, I think.

The point is: I kinda admire that about Voi, and it’s only been recently that I’ve been able to relate to her so directly.

It’s kinda neat.

So, as I sit here churning out my last edits before beta reading, I feel that I’m at a special point in my life where I can stop writing/editing from the notes and outdated plans and whatnot and just simply write from the heart.


13 thoughts on “Epic Emotions, Heroes & Parallels – Writing From The Heart

  1. I think a lot of writers create characters that are improved versions of themselves. As long as the characters are still human-level (not just wish-fulfillment stick figures) I think that’s fine. Was Hemingway always as tough as his heroes? Probably not. I remember a great comic strip by Alison Bechtel where she talked about the irony of being a famous lesbian cartoonist, writing and drawing characters who were out and proud, but continually postponing coming out to her own family.

    I’m glad the clouds are clearing.


  2. Yeah, I know you’ve been through so much this year. Especially after your car accident, it’s a great thing that you’ve been able to get back to editing. I know one writer that has issues focusing and remembering things after his accident, though he’s getting better slowly.

    5 years? Whoa…I didn’t realize you’ve been working on it for so long! I thought my latest project took forever – 2 years to complete. Hopefully, it’ll be done soon. Then what? What are your plans for E7?


    • Yeah…the accident sucked. (Oh yeah, another funny parallel: my MC has her own big “Accident” which really changed her, haha. Didn’t plan that one…)

      As for E7, after the beta readings I’m gonna try and find a literary agent to sell it. If that don’t work, I’ll keep working on the other books anyway and consider self-publishing, heh. But I plan on waiting until I’ve had over a year of no-goes before I even consider going that route… I’d much rather have E7 traditionally published.


  3. I’m so glad things are starting to look brighter for you, and I hope they keep getting better yet.

    Hmm I’ve never looked up to my fictional characters. I really wouldn’t want to be them, because their lives are pretty terrible. :S


  4. I feel like I understand a lot of the sentiment here, like it expresses some similar ideas I had when I was working on my novel-I’ve-been-writing-since-forever. At one point, I mentally thought of it as the epic fantasy version of my autobiography, including the parts of my life I hadn’t lived yet. I suspect this is because there are certain elements of a good that have a wide appeal because they reflect some nearly-universal human experiences. Loving and losing, getting betrayed and so on are some of those experiences, I think. I also suspect this is because, consciously or not, many of us writers project ourselves onto our protagonists. (As Anthony said above: as long as it’s done well, that’s what matters.)

    In the grand scheme of life, there are a nearly never-ending supply of reversals: of ups and downs, of highs and lows. We can only hope that, on balance, the happy times are greater than the bad. I hope you find success in your current endeavors.


    • Thanks, Stephen. 😀

      Y’know, I wouldn’t really consider my WIP a version of my autobio or anything (me & the heroine are still pretty dissimilar, in most ways), but it’s still weird recognizing some of those parallels between us. But yeah, the universal appeal… I guess that’s what makes lots of books readable in the first place!


  5. I’m glad that the clouds are beginning to roll away for you! 🙂 I hope all continues to go well for you.

    Even when you’re sending out the manuscript to betas, start writing the next story, whether it be a short story or novel.

    All of my characters are different and nothing like me, but when it comes to story, its good to write from the heart because it makes the work more believeable. 😉


    • Oh man–sorry for responding so late! :/

      Thanks, Tyhitia. I do plan on starting the next project once I’ve sent this one out for consideration. I’m sure I’ll be pretty anxious to get to it, heh.


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