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I’ve been thinking a lot about role models and how they influence a writer’s work; the ways this translates to our readers.
There’s a reason writers become invested in their characters, why they often refer to them as real; a living, breathing part of the world as they know it. They have a history, complex personalities, and emotional depth. For readers, if we’re lucky, this equates to a character springing to life on the page.
Regardless of the process or how much planning is involved, as writers, we draw from our environment, and our experience. We observe behaviour, ask questions, have a sensitivity to body language, and pay attention. But it’s more than that. The people we meet, those we know – we use these observations to build unique fictional people. Then we give them a place to belong.
It’s not always a conscious decision and, like people as a whole, most have a variety of influences – their literary genes are inherited from all we see and hear. That’s why it’s so much fun when a character comes to us out of the blue. It can be difficult to pinpoint where they actually came from given the amount of information we carry in our head! It’s hard not to wonder at the magic of imagination, of fantasy, and marvel at the way the world around us has a direct influence on all we convey.
I can’t deny that many of my female characters are strong, passionate women. Quite simply, this is due to the fact I’m surrounded by resilient women. My mum is one of the strongest people I know. She is bubbly and affectionate, but, whenever I’m channelling sass – I think of her! My sister inherited that strength and I not only rely on her, I wouldn’t be the person I am without her.
And it’s not only my immediate family. My great-grandmother was a force to be reckoned with, a woman who practically raised four boys singled handed. Those boys (my grandfather included), were said to be hellions in their youth! She used tough love, an endless supply of patience and an iron will to keep them on the straight and narrow. I recognise her in a number of my characters, which isn’t a surprise.
The stories I grew with, family stories, certainly have an impact. My experiences of love and commitment, friendship and loyalty are also threaded through my work. I wouldn’t call us a military family per se, but most of the men served at one time or another and my grandmother lost her brother to the war. I never knew him, not personally, but through her I came to understand the man he was. It’s not only the good, it’s also the hurts and the disappointments we feel personally, and share with those closest to us.
I’ve had many wonderful male role models in my life. My brother is younger than me, but he’s my hero. It’s because of him I wrote my romantic crime series, and the experiences he shares about his life in the army all find their way onto the page. I haven’t personally served, but I understand camaraderie and the value of friendship and that’s what I try to reflect within the team I created. Growing up I had a lot more in common with boys than girls. My best friend, Tony, taught me valuable lessons about loyalty. He also has a wicked sense of humour, and I’m able to draw on those lessons.
That’s why, if we’re lucky, we connect with so many of our readers because, whatever the situation, whatever the outcome, it’s the characters who speak to, and for us. It’s in the connections they make, how they love, view the world and interact. A cacophony of life experiences that begin with our role models and build from there. That’s when a character truly comes to life. It’s what makes them memorable and why we want to spend time with them as often as we can. At least that’s how I see it.
There is a unique voice that lives within all of us. We might be shaped by others, but that’s not all there is, and it’s not all we give to our characters either. You could say, in one sense, the characters are an extension of us. So when a reader identifies with them, draws strength, laughs, cries, and celebrates their lives as we do, it’s a special kind of connection. There’s nothing quite like it.
Thanks for stopping by.
Welcome to Mindful Monday! I have found that being mindful encompasses the act of being watchful, aware, wary, heedful, alert, careful, or attentive, in whatever area in my life I feel it applies to. Each week I try to self discover new things about myself. This week, I decided that I would concentrate a little bit on myself. I am talking about self-love, or caring for myself as a person.
I have a busy week ahead, as March 31st our oldest daughter Ronda, and our two grand daughters Maleah, and Arianna, arrive for a short visit. My normal mode of operation would center on cleaning the house from top to bottom, baking all kinds of goodies for healthy snacks, and generally working myself up into a frenzy trying to ensure that everything turns out perfect. Usually, by the time they arrive, I am worn out and stressed from trying too hard. In addition, these things that matter to me so much, (cleaning, etc.) really do not matter to them anyway. They just want to spend time with us!
This time, I have planned differently. I have planned time for myself. Yes, I will dust and vacuum, and complete all the necessary things to insure that our daughter and grand daughters will be comfortable. That is a given. The rest can simply happen. I decided that this visit, we will literally live in the moment. No big plans, just whatever strikes us at the time, we will do.
This Tuesday, I even have a pedicure scheduled! Gardening on Thursday, and Friday, Ron and I will go grocery shopping and get that chore completed. I have allowed plenty of “me time,” where I can meditate and rejuvenate myself with peace and quiet. That way, I will be refreshed to spend time with my grand daughters and daughter. I am aging with grace.
Image credit: Everbrite
I have found that the positive affirmations above, help me take care of myself. As women, we spend so much time taking care of everyone else and trying to make everything perfect for our families, we neglect the one that might need the most care – us! Take the time to enjoy your own company. Do the things that bring pleasure to you. When you make yourself happy, your joy spreads to everyone else and becomes contagious.
What are your mindful goals for this week?
Image credit: The Sassy Life
Remember, this is not a challenge. This is an offering of support. If you would like to join in with your own Mindful Monday goals you can do so in the comments, or on a separate post of your own making. If you want to link back to my post, please feel free to do so however, it is not necessary. My main objective here is to give and get support to become more mindful of the things I take for granted in life.
Thank you for joining me in my pursuit of becoming more mindful. I appreciate your support! I wish much peace and joy to everyone this week.
Last night, I was at that stage of going to sleep, quiet in my breathing, when I heard the tiny swamp fairy talking in my head. She whispered so quietly I had to strain to hear her.
“Come with me,” she said. “I am going to take you to what it was before, long ago, in the beginning…”
Suddenly, I was in Fairy Swamp. I could feel the heat and humidity press against me making it hard to breath. Moisture dripped from the leaves of the trees. A steamy mist swirled beneath my feet. I could smell old and new all mixed together to make a new scent. All around me a choir of insect voices arose in a loud clamor of pitches, making it hard for me to hear. It was near dusk and the light grew dark around the edges. I drifted in that space and time as if on a wave floating high above and looking down…
Darkness descended dragging a veil of foggy gloom,
as Fairy Swamp came alive with a chorus of frogs and insects
singing the stories of the day.
Lightening flickered in shadowy clouds flitting across the inky black sky.
Tiny glowing translucent wings rose above the slough,
With heartbeats syncing and beating as one –
the Swamp Fairies
glittered in the remnants
of the setting
Fairy swamp was ancient in its gloom. It had been here for eons, immeasurable by time. I heard no words – only the sounds of the wind and of the swamp. Birds settled high overhead in the trees ruffling the leaves above me. Small scurrying animals looked for their homes for the night scampering beneath my feet. Lightening made ghostly images shimmer before me.
I could sense them and feel them all around me. The swamp fairies were everywhere. I felt no fear. Their iridescent wings gleamed in the last of the light from the setting sun. I felt their unity, their strength in numbers. I felt like I was part of them and my heart began to beat in time to the steady drumming of their wings. I stood there, silently reveling in the unity of the fairies surrounding me. I felt like I was home. I closed my eyes and smiled.
The next thing I could remember, my two Pomeranians Sugar and Spice were licking my face and my sweet husband, Bronze was shaking me and telling me it was time to get up! The Swamp Fairy had given me my first story to share with the world! Follow the story from here or find the stories listed on my menu under “The Swamp Fairy.”
Thanks for stopping by to see me. I always enjoy our visits!
Silver Threading, The Fairy Story Keeper