Mother Nature: Poet, Artist, Author?

This week is owned by Mother Nature. She is showing us we can’t get too comfortable in our “hurricane free” or “earthquake free” areas. With the earthquake from the Northeast starting in Virginia (it was fun teaching a class and missing a step as everything fell about a foot from where it was) and Hurricane Irene heading toward the Jersey Shore, people are having to adapt and learn new ways to prepare to survive.

Beautiful, but what if you added some lightning, crashing waves and a fire?

Right now, Mother Nature is the author of our current story. As authors, we create new circumstances, hardships and disasters for our characters to grow and learn from. A common critique note to young authors is “you made this too easy for your characters”. An easy story is often one that bores the reader and the hero/heroine doesn’t grow to his/her full potential. So, in order to love our characters and make them the people we know they can be, we have to throw horrible, horrible situations at them and let them learn on their own, or with a mentor and crew, what they have buried deep within. They have to learn what they can accomplish when pushed to the worst place they can possibly imagine, often a hairs breath from death. That’s why the Dark/Black Moment of the book is so important. It must be dire, because our hero/heroine must learn, the world be damned. He/she is stronger and better than this and will find a way to survive.

And to survive, they rarely ever have to be a “superman” with “deus ex superpower” that comes from nowhere. Often even with superpowers in play, in order for characters to grow, the ability to move beyond the Black Moment into Victory comes from a very mundane place. That way the readers can identify and grow from it with the characters.

So make those journeys tough and deadly. Let your characters fall down and feel pain. We as humans adapt and grow and learn. That’s what makes a compelling story. The growth. The learning. The survival of things that are out of the ordinary, but happen anyway.

As Mother Nature writes our story this week, I am continuing my work on Black Moon, as well as sending Black Sun to two more Beta Readers. Black Moon is almost a chapter in now, and Mother Nature has inspired some new hardships for my characters. *grin*


About Courtney Sloan

A New Orleans native, Courtney Sloan relocated to the hills of Central Maryland after Hurricane Katrina. There she lives with her husband and fellow author, J.P. Sloan, their son and their crazy German Shepherd pup. Adding to her writing life, Courtney is also a professor at the local college and enjoys learning a world of new ideas from her students as she teaches them about writing and communicating. Courtney’s New Orleans upbringing has left her with a love for the macabre and a flare for the next to normal. She writes speculative fiction with a variety of horror and sass mixed in for flavor. She loves taking the world of politics that haunts us now, and adding the supernatural to create a gumbo of thrills to keep you up at night. A self-proclaimed lover of way too many fandoms, Courtney also loves crafting. From blankets to jams to stories, it’s always better homemade. View all posts by Courtney Sloan

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