Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday's Child is full of Grace


Such a small word and yet so powerful. And necessary.

Our foster dog's name is Grace. Little did we know we'd need a ton of it to deal with her. I'm beating myself up right now because I just failed to exhibit grace toward Grace when she jumped in the window and knocked off three picture frames and two works in progress.


Extending grace to ourselves is often much harder. We beat ourselves up for the tiniest mistakes. I have the nasty tendency to think I should be somewhere else along this time-line of life. Comparing oneself to another is not going to get you any further along. If anything, it will keep you stuck where you are, wallowing in self doubt.

Grace towards our characters is entirely different. How much do we allow them? Do we throw them to the lions and hand them a rope or do we fling them to the daleks and let them figure it out on their own? Do we allow someone, something to appear at just the right time to save their butts? Ah, then we tread the waters of Dues ex machina and no one likes an unexplained salvation.

Do we or don't we? Do we help them out or just pile on the crap and see how much they can take. During the month of April, I'm going to be doing intense revisions on my novel (part one of a trilogy). While rereading, I realized I'm far too nice to my characters. Sure, I give them hell, but I always shift the weight and let the good guys get out. Not unscathed, but almost too good to be true. Does this make sense? I hope so.

Dare I heave them into the darkness and let them find their own way out? We are the world-builders, the sub-creators (fans of Tolkien will get that), however, when we let ourselves go, when we let the story take over, things happen we could never have dreamed. And they are usually far better than anything we could have dreamed.

To paraphrase Paulo Coelho in the Alchemist, "When you step out in the direction of your dreams and fully commit to them, the universe itself will conspire to help you."

So step aside, let your characters take over. Trust them and in doing so, trust yourself.

Be bold; be fabulous.


  1. Here you are being BOLD. I like it. I'm going to allow the universe to take over now. OK. I'm waiting. Well, we can't just sit around. In the meantime, there's another Scriptfrenzy right around the corner.

  2. oh, grace - I once wrote and performed a one woman show called 'States of Grace' so I'm well seasoned in that concept. That doesn't mean I have lots of it though ;)
    I do the same thing with my characters, esp. my protagonists. I am learning to heap on the troubles - maybe this is how God works (only I don't believe in such an entity) - it does make more sense - God is trying to make something of us so she puts us through the crucible to test our metal. Well of course if I don't believe in God the God I don't believe in is a she!

  3. Great post!

    I try to imagine what my characters--as actual people--would do in the situations I put them in, and let them take the lead. It comes out so much more naturally that way.

  4. I am exactly the same!! I'm in the middle of a huge rewrite for the exact same reason. I keep letting my characters solve their problems too easily! But I'm working on being nastier! :)

  5. Your characters are like your children. There a tendency to hover over them during their journey, always picking them up when they fall and saving them from any real danger. But what we really need to do is simply make sure that they have all the tools and skills they need for the task we've set before them and then let them go to face their trials. That's the only way they can grow.

  6. Life isn't easily tied up with a neat little string, so you have to remember that when you are writing. I don't like Jodi Piccoult books for that reason--she starts out great, but then grows weary of the writing process and wraps everything with a tidy bow. Hate that. Make a mess, pally!!

  7. This is a great post. I think I'm often too easy on my characters, and it's a hard habit to break. Good luck with your rewrite!

  8. I need to put my characters through more, too, and save that grace for myself. Self-doubt is the worst!

  9. I love that, be bold and fabulous. I took my heroine to the brink of insanity and had her pull out.
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

  10. In the movie of "Lord of the Rings" when Eowyn is riding through the woods being chased by Ring Wraiths with Frodo dying in her arms, she arrives on the other side of the river. She holds Frodo and says something like, "What grace is mine I give unto you..." Does that sound familiar?
    I love the generosity and selflessness of that statement. In the support and the "iron sharpens iron" blogging, the concept of grace being open and available is so impressive.
    Good blog.
    And, thank you for checking my Backyardigans blog. Sunshine loaned me the DVD, but I primed the pump by bringing an 'Angelina Ballerina' dvd to the table.
    Also, the knight w/dragon egg episode featured music with a 'Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody' feel.

  11. This is a great post! I have so much conflict on just how much my character is going to be able to handle. Maybe I shouldn't be afraid to pour it on.


Well, hello! I'm so glad you made it. Come inside and sit by the hearth. I'll take your coat and hat. The kettle is singing and there's cake and candles and good conversation. Settle in and make yourself at home. Don't mind the wolfhounds; they're friendly if you give them a bit of lemon curd.