People say write what you know. I recently realized that this wise phrase is not only a little limited–I’d rather write what I’m learning and always keep learning!–but also a little off for me. I write about what I love plus what I hate, stuck together in a situation where they can’t get apart. Sounds tasty, right?
The Little Seer
What do I love in my first novel, which is currently being considered by 4 agents and hopefully will be published within the year? I love spiritual seekers. My main character is 12, but that’s not too young to be an honest person living a life that seeks truth and beauty.
What do I hate? Religious hypocrisy. Power-hungry people. The evil that stands between you and the truth and beauty for your life. Put those things together in one church and bam pow, what a dramatic story! The church didn’t survive, and the people barely did, either.
Music of Sacred Lakes
What do I love in my second novel, just written in July, about a young man in crisis finding his way back to his connection with life and nature through the voice of Lake Michigan? Again, there’s that honest seeker quality in my character, but this time what I love is his passion for life. He may not know it, but he is desperately in love with life. He’s just in crisis because he has inadvertently removed himself from the land that gave his life meaning.
What do I hate? Well, everything that’s keeping him away. Societal expectations, the dysfunction of his family, and the limitations of his spiritual tradition. Enter the Native American friends who have retained a truth about the nature of life that this character’s Christian ancestors forgot when they logged and farmed it nearly to death. I’m still working on this story, but the pieces are there for an intensely good novel.
What Do You Love? What Do You Hate?
In fiction or in life, what do you love? What do you hate? And what happens when those two things just can’t get away from each other? I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject in comments. Don’t just write what you know. And don’t just live what you know. Live and write what you love, and fight what you hate.