Monthly Archives: August 2012
“MISS TINY BRODWICK, an eighteen-year-old girl in San Diego, California, recently showed her faith in the safety parachute for aviators invented by her father, Charles Brodwick, by dropping to earth from a flying parachute. The feat occurred before a crowd of visitors at the San Diego Exposition, and the parachute worked in perfect fashion.” – Illustrated World, Sept. 1915
So when last we left our intrepid heroes and heroines they were hearing their calls to adventure – the inciting events leading them down the prickly path. In fiction as in real life, these brave souls are not so brave at first. They tremble on the threshold, unsure of whether to take the leap.
In the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Flint Lockwood is literally at the bottom of the barrel – the trash barrel when he refuses the call. In Rango the reptilian hero not only refuses but flees, however the hand of destiny is at work and his attempts at self-preservation become acts of bravery. Whatever and however they are they begin to question themselves, they are not brave enough, not skilled enough, not adventurous enough.
This is where the rubber starts to meet the road for both you and your heroes and heroines. If you become too deeply attached to them you can’t place them in the difficult positions that will make a great story. You’ve got to be willing to bond with them and then put them through their worst nightmares, starting right here!
What are some of the creative refusals-of-the-call you remember from books, movies or TV?
It is probably a legacy of my love for weighty Russian novels, but in my estimation there is a very interesting moment in history right now:
Closing Statements, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich
They are the latest in a legacy of strong Russian women who take charge in hopes of creating a better life, much like the Five Sisters Under the Tsar. The new group of women is not nearly as radical, and it is an intriguing premise to consider that the women today may actually be less free than the five sisters in the 1870’s.
Note: I have purposely avoided including the band’s name here to make this post safe for filters.
Now that we’ve introduced the first stage – the Call to Adventure, it seems appropriate to point out that we are often to called to adventure in many different ways. For me, it was a writing conference last year:
Many young readers may find themselves soon facing the walk into a new school where no friends await, as does my heroine Celia. She’s moved from Manhattan to the country, and even though her year was busy and fun – including both a new puppy AND a mystery to solve – now she is again unsure of the future. I hope my readers take to heart the fact that this is a lifelong experience. As you know from my previous post I’m catching a plane Wednesday to attend the PNWA Conference in Seattle, where my first children’s chapter mystery The Victorian with a Secret, is a Literary Contest finalist. I am flying across the country and I do not know one person there.
Like all new students heading off to school this is a path I have to walk by myself. Such new adventures can be scary. I know there will be other writers, so we do have something in common. Celia knows there will be other 10-year-old girls waiting at the school, some might even have puppies and pesky baby brothers. But how many will there be that will reach out to a Jewish-Mexican city girl? After all, when you’ve already got friends how many more do you need? I am hoping to not only find some friends in the writing business, but also persuade an agent to help bring this mystery series to life in a bookstore near you.
With the post I hope you know that we are all in this together. If you get back to school this fall and there is a new face in your classroom, I hope that you will take the chance to reach out and make that person feel welcome. This new adventure of mine is a good reminder of how scary these jumps off the dock can be, even for adults. I am hoping for lots of friendly faces, lots to learn and chances to laugh. Until next time, I wish you the same in your adventures – whatever they may be.
One of the happy extras to my writing journey is that fact that my children are both writing, now that they see me writing. I should mention that this has all come about without any interference from me. On their own and of themselves, they write. However, I cannot resist the urge to help them. I started writing in elementary school myself and I know how much farther ahead I could be now if someone had helped me more then.
So, without being too hovering, I find little opportunities to work in bits about writing. One such chance is during family movie night. Most stories include a hero’s journey to some degree, so I have started mentioning it here and there – in the moment – when they can recognize it for what it is.
Step 1: The Ordinary World/ Step 2: Call to Adventure
I’ve combined both these together because they often happen in sync. In these first few moments or few pages we can begin to get an idea of what our hero or heroine is like, just enough so we can begin to bond with them. But typically you don’t have to wait too long before they hear the siren call to adventure. In Rango, we meet the thespian chameleon who is directing himself (in his tank) in adventure “movies”. He is searching for meaning within his characters but when his tank bounces out of the car and shatters he is thrown into a real adventure.
When you start looking for The Call to Adventure you’ll find it everywhere throughout books and movies. What are some of your favorite siren calls to adventure?