How do I make multi-dimensional characters?
How do I make my stories more emotional?
How can I write something people actually want to read?
If you’re asking these questions, this blog post is for you. Unhindered will teach you how to connect with yourself and write a meaningful story based on your own experience. As an added bonus, we’re going to heal your heart at the same time.
The process walks through Emotion, Memory, Belief, and Transformation. Through each step-by-step post, we’ll discuss how this process can perfect your writing craft by designing a main character with a story that resonates in readers.
Writing transformational fiction begins with your own inner journey. Deep within us as writers, we have a desire to change the world. There’s a story inside of us that begs to be told. Have you ever asked yourself why?
The characters, plot, and desire to write are all within you for a reason. Writing fiction that impacts lives certainly takes time and practice. This all begins with you, your own inner healing experience, and how willing you are to be completely vulnerable on the page.
Risky writing that tells the honest truth about pain and triumph resonates with people. So how do we as writers craft stories like that within our books?
Find Out What Hurts
Let’s forget about the rest of the world for a moment and take a look inside the heart. Perhaps even let your story rest while you reflect on these questions.
Where do you hurt?
What are the pains you carry?
What are you struggling with that you can’t get over no matter how hard you try?
What situation is hopeless in your life?
What wound in the past has defined you all your life?
Getting to the bottom of your own pain is extremely difficult for some people. We’ve buried things deep where no one can ever find them (ourselves included). We’re afraid of pain because it is powerful and we don’t ever want to feel it again.
Pain, both emotional and physical, is a sign that something is broken and needs to be healed. If pain isn’t allowed to flow through and out of our bodies, it can make us sick. Suppressing your emotions will destroy the joy in your life and leave you exhausted, bitter, and depressed.
Writing transformational fiction isn’t just about your reader—it’s about your own healing, too.
Struggling To Feel Again
Now, with emotions, if you’re struggling to connect, it’s because you’ve chosen to bury them. You will not reconnect with your emotions until you deal with the reason why you’re suppressing them. For example, I may be shutting down each time I try to feel because I’m afraid if I let myself feel, the pain will overwhelm me.
You will need to journal yourself through that point. The truth is that all of your emotions are your choice. Whether or not they consume you is your choice. (Controversial, I know, but your choice has a lot more power than you think.)
Be honest with yourself and be patient while you discover what’s holding you back. If you are ready to move forward and feel, then you will. However, if you’re not at the place you want to be emotionally, realize that is your choice. By blaming others and situations, you are giving away your power to change.
(You are also giving away a great “mirror moment” experience. This is the part of the plot where the character must face himself, examine his life, and face his own pile of %$&@.)
A Story That Heals
The point of all of this feeling and examining your pain is so that you can write a story that is real, resonates, and offers a better way of life to your readers. The purpose of transformational fiction is to give people hope. Yes, you can change your life. Yes, there is a better way. Yes, it is possible to feel happy again.
And the best way for you to write this experience is to live through it yourself.
Each of us have our own pain that is unique, yet relatable. Your story will impact someone else’s life if you have the courage to share it.
As you explore the things that have and are hurting you, your own story is going to come to life around that pain. As we move through these exercises together, the goal is to assign your main character and his story a theme and statement that channels from your own inner healing journey.
When I did this for myself writing Ariel: The First Guardian, I started out with a broken heart from a bad relationship. Nothing I did helped, and I ached for a good year and a half before I decided to write my way out of my pain. I gave Ariel Harte my primary statement of pain (“No one wants me”) with the intention of writing myself free from that lie.
The theme of that story turned out to be the most powerful I’ve ever written—redemptive love. It’s something that has been felt by readers. I’ve gotten a lot of messages (primarily from women) about how readers have been deeply touched by the story.
Why did this story connect with my audience in a way that hasn’t before? It’s because I focused on my own journey, answering my own spiritual questions, and found the courage to move forward.
As you reflect on yourself, write out the emotional pain. Capture the sensations it produces in your body. No, this isn’t pleasant. You may go through many boxes of tissues. But all of this information is not only healing you—it’s also teaching you how to show your main character’s emotion to your reader.
All of this crappy emotion is going to go into the first half of your book. Once you reach that transformational moment, the midpoint (mirror moment), then your main character has experienced heaing. Ideally, this will mimic your own journey.
In the coming months, I’ll be sharing about how to continue in your healing journey. The good news is that the painful emotions you’re getting in touch with are not going to last forever. You can move beyond them and find joy and peace.
We’ve tapped into emotion and how it relates to the main character’s journey. Next, we’ll look at your memories and how that can shape your character’s dark moment that haunts him/her. Your character later overcoming that dark moment at the midpoint will reflect your own transformation.
Then we’ll look into beliefs that are housed in our memories. Emotions are the keys to these memories and beliefs, so if you aren’t ready emotionally, the rest of the transformational fiction process will be difficult. The belief section of your journey is what you can use for your character’s flaw and/or inner demon.
And then, by far my favorite part, we’ll look at transformation taking place in your life and the lives of your main characters as you move forward from false beliefs.
This may sound a little woo-woo and abstract right now, but if you stick with me and trust the process, I guarantee you’ll not only be writing amazing fiction that readers can’t wait to have, but you’ll also experience freedom from pains that have held you back.
Take time to reflect on the questions asked earlier in the post. Journal through your responses and record the emotions you experience. Note what sensations they create in your body (as you are able). You will know when you’re ready to move forward to the memory stage because your brain will naturally bring these up for you when you’re truly connected with your emotions.
*If your emotional condition is severe and frightens you, talk with a trusted friend or family member and seek out professional counseling. There is no shame in asking for help, and this is also an extra experience you can add into your main character’s journey later on.