Studying Yourself

Consider studying your own behaviors and those of family and friends. (Do NOT share the insights and analyses with anyone whom you do not have an enduring friendship. Your thoughts expressed may be hurtful.) “Why, you ask, does this have anything to do with my work as a writer?” Think of yourself as a character that reveals herself on the page. How might you do that through their words and actions? Fully developed characters engage our reader. Isn’t that what we all want?

I spent four days with two longtime close friends this past week. I spoke aloud about my own situational distress, and the result was a communication breakdown lasting hours. After a conversation with them about their reactions to my words, my own characters, Musa and Ferenc Ruttka, came to light in a new intimate way. What might have been underlying hurts of theirs. My own “issues” surfaced in a dramatic manner that stunned my dear friends. When I announced in what they felt was an angry voice, they were hurt. They each believed I was blaming them. That was never my intention. I did not realize the umph of my tone and words.

We were all misunderstood.

The entire day and evening were strained. I felt it but couldn’t identify the WHY. Neither one gave me feedback at the time or even later that day, but I knew I had screwed up.

So who cares? Probably only me in this situation, but a new layer of edification emerged.

My point in blogging about friends’ time together helped me peel away a layer of pain triggered by the past. Ah, “the right brain always wins.”

We brought the incident up later, and we examined where and why this emotion had been triggered. So, so helpful.

Have you heard how novels, particularly first novels, are autobiographical? I get it. We draw from our own lives and those with whom we share a special closeness. Our characters have sadnesses, desires, and beliefs about themselves that erupt in both good and bad choices. Readers can relate and want to know more. That’s our hope, anyway.

Thank you for following,

Sandi

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