A Character’s Death

This is not in reference to a murder mystery or crime novel where you need a random person to die for the story to occur or to continue. This is in reference to killing a character that has more interaction in the plot than a minor sub character. Killing that character should mean something.

As writers, we become attached to our characters. They become our family, our children. We become very invested in their lives as we write out the pages. So, I ask you – if you have a character death can you please not let that death be pointless? I value human life, and that includes the fictional character’s lives as well. Can you weave in the writing so that it means something to the main character or to the plot? Can you make it symbolize something of the main character’s personal journey? Or relate in a parallel situation?

The book series of Harry Potter has many deaths within its pages. Each one can make the reader cringe or cry. Consider picture below.

hp deaths

Also dealing with parallelism in Harry Potter – consider the fourth book – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The movie shows this, but I have not verified it with the book. In the beginning when Harry, Ron, and Hermione are in the campground (movie version) and the dark mark is cast into the sky. The wizard’s shoot stunning spells are the trio. Mr. Weasley shouts “That’s my son”. They cease-fire to question them. Now, speed up to the near end of the movie when Harry brings back Cedric’s body. You hear the heart-wrenching cry of Mr. Diggory “That’s my son, that’s my boy”. Two fathers from opposite ends of the same village, dealing with two completely and, yet, eerie similar situations, shouting similar words. If you have a death, make it mean something. Don’t waste a life unless something can come from it.

L.R. Mauck

(Sorry for the long delay in posting. It’s been a busy time of year at both of my jobs.)

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Moral of the Story

You may not see it right off the bat or even understand what the message is within a story. Sometimes there are no agendas, but other times, a hidden message can be found within the text of many books. There are times that you as the writer don’t realize your own message until you examine your own over all story plot of what you want the reader to get out of the story. A few times, it’s just a warm fuzzy feeling after reading the story, but other times it can be a huge message.

Example:

Harry Potter series: moral of the story is love trumps hate. It was love that saved Harry’s life in the beginning, and it was ultimately love (the power Voldemort didn’t have) that won in the end.

Hunger Games: Many things can be said for the Hunger Games series: love, gluttony, sacrificing one self for the benefit of others (Katniss took her sister’s place, Peta took a beating to give Katniss bread, Gale fed his family and Katniss family while she was in the arena, etc), selfishness and greed on Snow’s part, and so on.

Lord of the Rings: there was a lot of character’s sacrificing their lives for the greater good. But you can also see that bravery and doing what is right no matter your size or skill can still be accomplished. Frodo is often looked at as making the hardest sacrifice for carrying the ring for so long and over coming the evil – but look at Samwise. He, I believe, had the greater sacrifice and bravery. He was only a gardener and yet, he stood by Frodo’s side through the worst of it. He fought Orcs, Shebo, Gollum and even his own temptation of the ring.

Twilight: Another story of love. Don’t judge the person by what they appear (vampire or werewolf) but look inside to see who they really are. Though, Bella is very much enraptured by Edward’s beauty, so that does take away from the moral.

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Books sometimes don’t need to spell out their morals like the older fairy tale stories do or even make big political statements.

I’m not saying you have to insert a message to your story but there are times you want to leave the readers with something when they turn that last page of the book. You want them to remember your story and have it come back to them as time goes on. Maybe even recommend your book to others. Or at least, I do.

As you can see, my examples above were not just children’s books, but adults read as well. We all need that constant reminder lately that we need to do right.

Subliminal messaging doesn’t have to be the main plot of your story or even the character’s personal growth. But it can be an underlining lesson the character has or sub character(s) have to learn in order to accomplish their journey.

A bit of a closer look for an example:

Think back with Harry Potter – Harry’s best friend Ron Weasley struggled with jealousy. We all saw it as we read through the books, even the movies helps clarify the situation too. But both times when Ron gave into his jealousy, he eventually came back and apologized. We all know that jealousy is wrong, but as humans, we struggle from time to time with it too. J. K. Rowling not only made the character relatable, but also showed that jealousy is wrong and can cause people to make wrong decisions that affect more than one person.

(I’ve been rereading Harry Potter so that is why there is a lot of mentioning of HP in my posts).

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Just a small suggestion: if you chose to make a political stance in your book, choose your topic wisely. Be ready to make that stand over and over again just in case you are confronted about it. I’ve seen several authors take strong stands in public with politics and they get dragged through the backlash and their work gets ignored. Study the politically issue from all angles, not just your side. And also, the political stance may be popular now, but maybe not ten years from now or fifteen or so. Don’t let your work only be a fleeting moment. Make it stand the test of time so that future historians or language art’s teachers can recommend your work as a subject of study to examine this era of time. Think of Grapes of Wrath or How to Kill a Mocking Bird. Both tell a story with moral lessons, but also make strong political stances.

L. R. Mauck

Small Personal Update

Hello,

Thank you to all the followers and viewers. I was blown away when this fourth month old blog went over 100 visitors last month and I can’t thank you enough.

I must apologize for posting sparingly for last week, this week and probably weeks to come. My schedule has become increasingly busy and I’ve taken on a 3rd (part time) job as a chef at a candy shop (so excited that I get paid to play). My writing is suffering as well. I did put in a few hours last night editing, but no new writing for a while now. I hope that once my schedule gets a little bit more routine that I can get back to my stories. They keep playing out in my head, so I really wish to have them on paper soon.

I wish you all well with your writing and to keep with my motto: Keep learning, keep writing.

L. R. Mauck

My Ramblings

Update on my novel – I have a few queries  send out currently. I need to submit more and will try to this week. However, I’m still editing while going through the book again. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to declare it prefect, but that’s just me. I always find flaws in my work regardless of it being a craft, painting, or my writing.

On a positive note: a 13 year old girl I know, told me she loved the book so far. She started reading it back in December when she was 12 and loved it then, but her family moved and she lost the file. She asked for a new copy. I waited until I finished another revision on it before emailing it to her a week and a half ago. She told me twice since then that she really loves it and as of yesterday, she’s nearly finished already. She is the youngest of the five people who have read it and liked it. That’s a nice confidence boost.

The story idea I wrote about on Wednesday last week, I’m still piecing that together. I have the character’s name, some background information, plot idea and two big twists to the story thought out, but for some reason a lovely writers block has formed preventing me from actually starting the book. I’ll get there. Just like with any of my writer blocks, I’ve got to think it through more and force myself to write through it. I know that once I get started officially (rather than just jotting down notes), it’ll go smoothly.

I hope everyone else has made progress on your writings this past weekend. Remember to keep writing. That is the only way you will better your craft and explore and push your boundaries.

L. R. Mauck

Write Outside Your Comfort Zone

writeI’m a big believer in writing stories or ideas outside of my own comfort zone. I’ve tried different genres over the years from fantasy to romance to middle school aged mystery book to Native American historical fiction. I’ve even toyed on writing a suspense thriller story, but it’s too close to home for me at the moment and I don’t want to jeopardize any legal issues that might occur in the future.

A new story idea came to me last week. The more I thought about it the more I want to expand my writing. I’ve written fantasy that borders on realism in the past. I’ve not really ever done high fantasy before. I typically shy away from high fantasy, believing that dragons, wizards, and the good vs evil plot has been done too many times before. So, I’m considering to tactical the high fantasy element but go with a twist. Instead of writing from the good guys perspective, I’m thinking of writing a dark high fantasy. I’m still in the thinking phase. My main character is there and named, but I don’t have the rest figured out yet. I’ll post updates on it if I start writing it.

My suggestion to you is to get out of your comfort zone. Write something that you have never tried before. And when you start writing, think of a different angle, one that may seem daunting to you. I like challenges because they can test your thinking abilities and your creativity. If whatever you’re working on doesn’t pan out, that’s okay. It may inspire other ideas or at least it will give you a new level of knowledge for you skills. Always keep writing. Never stop learning.

L. R. Mauck

If I’m Being Honest…

This is my acceptance of my weekend challenge. I’m not really satisfied with it, but I wrote it after hearing about an online bullying incident of a friend. By my own personal rule, I stay out of hot topics online.

 

If I’m being honest…

 

If I’m being honest…

I’d say I’m trapped in a parade.

Always presenting an outside life.

Walking an endless charade,

Along the edge of the world’s strife.

 

If I’m being honest…

I hold back what I yearn to say.

I wish to take up my sword

And run into the fray.

Never to turn back, but always towards.

 

If I’m being honest…

I’d admit I’m scared,

And I’ll bite my lip.

Instead of facing the feared

I’ll give them the slip.

 

If I’m being honest…

I’d tell them they’re the cowards

For hiding behind computer screens

And using anonymity’s rewards

To say things cruel and mean.

 

If I’m being honest…

One voice shares an opinion

Only to be torn down

By family, friends, or Satan’s minion

Who laugh as the innocent frown.

 

If I’m being honest…

I’d say I’m tired of the fighting.

We’re all humans, living together,

Why are we still bickering?

There’s more important things to weather.

 

If I’m being honest…

We should use this passion

For things that really matter

Like against slavery, hunger, destruction

Abuse, hate, and murder.

 

If I’m being honest…

I’d shout to the world

That we need to be in alignment.

But because of the harsh online world

My message will remain silent.

 

L. R. Mauck