Thursday, January 14, 2016

When You Don't Want to Make Lemonade Out of Lemons

Life often gives us lemons in which we can choose to make lemonade out of - or not.

Of course, we can choose to make lemonade for ourselves, but we can't always choose lemonade for others. They may want to live in the 'lemon' space, at least for a time. They may choose not to make lemonade now or ever, especially in the ways we think they should.

When it comes to creating book characters, it's sometimes preferable not to make lemonade, at least for awhile. Sure, you may want to save your character from the mess they've or someone else has created for them, but that doesn't mean you should.

Sometimes lemons, just plain lemons, is the place to be with your main character. They must learn something in this story. They must have pain, indecision, a bundle of nervous episodes if necessary. They must work hard for what they want.

In time, and as the lemon is mixed with water and sugar for lemonade, you find that your main character has worked through his/her problems and has become a better person. Not because you saved her early on, but because you allowed her to move through the trials of life.

This is tough. We learn to love our characters as if they're our best friends. But the best thing we can do in a story to provide the greatest interest, is to put our characters in situations that they can't help but blunder at first. Only then, when the last few pages are unrolling, can we see why they went through what they did, and how much they, and we, have grown because of it.

Kathryn

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