wizard of oz

The Best Book Ever Written

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I was sitting on the beach this morning, watching the sunrise, drinking my tea when a pesky question arose in my mind:

What do you want?

Oh great, I thought, not this one again. Sometimes I’m too existential for my own good.

What’s funny about this is just a few days ago, as I was working on my new book  I asked this question regarding my main character:

What does she want?

This notion  is the core of my book—all my books. What is the single driving factor for each of my protaganists? Everything in my story that happens from beginning, middle and end points to the central desire of the leading role. This driving force is what keeps the reader engaged. It’s why we read… to see if the characters get what they want in the end.

Isn’t that all we’re looking for in life as well? To follow our desires and ultimately leave this planet finding what we came for?  That’s why this element is key to good story telling.  Desire seeking is a key component to the human condition.

In the case of my novella (working title:Oz Sucks) Jane, a cynical, spitfire has been blown to Oz in a hurricane and wants nothing more than to get home. Thus I am creating a story dedicated to Jane’s quest. Every scene in the book in some way points towards her desire, either bringing her closer or farther from her goal.

My secondary character, the cocky, romantic interest, Kansas transplant Nick wants one thing and one thing only—to have Jane. So, my story is a dance of sorts between these two characters, based on a basic premise: Jane wants to go home and Nick wants Jane.

Think about the “characters” in your life. Are you not also doing a dance with them as them as well? A push-pull of I want, you want… we want?

A great example of this comes from Lord of the Rings. The premise is so simple. Frodo, wants to get rid of the ring without being sucked in by its power…and of course Sméagol wants the ring. Such a modest premise for such a rich, complicated story.

We are no different than the characters in the books we read. We are all driven by our desires, thus our lives unfold according to the path we choose. If you want to be a wealthy person, your life story will show you acting in ways either to make money.or in some people’s case spending money haphazardly in order create the illusion of wealth. If your reason to live is to make your children happy, all of your core actions will be to give them what they need for a happy existence.

Of course our desires change over time since life is full of many sub-stories…not quite as clean and crisp as a book. However if you step back, pretend you are the reader instead of the leading role, you can see what drives you, why you do what you do.

It’s a weird exercise, seeing yourself as the reader (or the writer) instead of the actor, but I find it fun and fascinating.

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Sunrise near my home in Flagler Beach, Florida

I’ve probably sat in this spot on the beach five hundred times in the last five years and each time my surface desires have morphed and changed, but this morning I felt something different. Beneath my multitude of wants, something stayed the same.

What do I want? I asked myself. I knew the answer. Like a character in one of my books, the core of my desire has been calling me all these years.

I want to bring love to this world…and so, for me, as I write this life story I know it’s about becoming whole, so I can help others in their journey.

So if I’m to stay true to my writer’s code, every action I do from here on out should reflect this desire to not just give love, but be love.

That’s one lofty book, but I think I’m up to it.

Remember you’re the author of your own book….your own personal masterpiece.  Make it a good one.

In love,

Becky

PS. Here’s a great talk by Andrew Stanton the creator of Finding Nemo who talks about the key components of story telling and the power of asking ‘what do you want?’

 

 

 

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When Life Gives You Flying Monkeys

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I’m sitting in bed with my favorite blanket on my lap listening to this silly Native American flute music hoping it will elicit something deep and meaningful for my blog post… maybe some spirit guide will pop in for a visit, I dunno. So far I’ve got nada.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of “Being Who You Are”. This isn’t just “Ta da! I’m the cute girl in the spandex pants.” This is the core You on the path you’ve been on since the day you were born (or before!)

Imagine you’re lost in a foreign place and all you want is to go home. You’ve got this yellow brick road in front of you and you have been told (by some adorable munchkins) if you follow it good things will come.

On this road you meet some interesting characters and they decide to join you on your journey (as all good friends do!).

Staying true to You, you persist even though there are some nasty things along the way: flying monkeys, poison poppies and giant trees that throw apples at you, to name a few.

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So,here you are with apple size bruises all over your body. You just want to turn in those slippers that nice lady gave you and call it a day, but you keep going because this is your role as a traveler, to be there in that moment, even when it sucks. You don’t know exactly what waits for you up ahead, but that doesn’t matter, because you have a single goal: to find your way home.

The irony of this story comes at the end from the lady in the puffy dress: “You’ve had the power all along.”

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That’s right… YOU were always there. All that strength you wished for was always there. Every moment of that journey you were right where you needed to be.

I am realizing now, we all have ruby red slippers and every day we walk a yellow brick road. Even in the crappy moments we are living out our story, just as we are meant to.

Yeah, Dorothy had the power to go home…but maybe home was an illusion. Maybe she was already there.

Peace,

Becky

Credit to author Tim Baker of Blindogg Books, whose reminded me of Glenda’s words many, many times.

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