Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Twist of It

by G.Parker

My husband is taking college courses online. He is determined to finish his bachelors degree, and I'm really proud of his efforts. One of his classes involves writing an essay about a subject and presenting both sides of a position.

He's finding it to be a challenging assignment, and it started me thinking about writing. In our books we aren't always writing about things we enjoy, like, or even would want to do. It all depends on what the plot involves and the subject. If we are drawn to writing a story that involves the use of guns and we are personally an anti-guns person, it's going to be challenging to do the research so we can write it realistically.

Sometimes we have to find out about things we don't like and paint them in a positive light in order to have a successful story line. Explaining why a psycho is the way he/she is so that we can somewhat sympathize with them as a character, for example. Or, showing how someone does something a certain way (perhaps not the usual way) and how it shapes their characters' development.

Writing is a challenge, be it fiction, non fiction, fantasy, contemporary, whatever. I used to think that writing fiction was the easiest course because I wouldn't have to do so much research. It didn't take me long to find out that I was wrong -- many fiction stories I've written required research.

What is it you would least want to write about? Abuse? Rape? Bankruptcy? There are lots of subjects that are difficult and I would have a hard time showing in any kind of a positive light, but that is the mark of a true writer. It would be a good exercise -- practice writing about something you hate and seeing the value of it. I think newspaper writers have to do this a lot. They have to delve into stories that would make most people turn and run screaming into the night.

What is your least favorite subject? Explore it and find out why. I would say it's a little like playing devils advocate -- but staying on the side with angels.


Carolyn V. said...

Woo Hoo to your husband for finishing school! I'm doing the same thing.

And yes, I have written about things I have not wanted to. It was so difficult I found myself needing breaks from it quite often. But I eventually finished it.

Cindy Beck said...

A pat on your husband's back for finishing school. It's tough!

Good post. I loved your last line about playing devil's advocate, but staying on the side of the angels!