Sunday, September 11, 2011

If you look in a mirror too long*

My Main Problem Character: Sarah Whitman

Description: Soft brown hair which falls in waves below her shoulders and frames her pixie features. A small nose inherited from her grandmother, so she was told, is positioned above a tulip shaped mouth, the lower lip fuller than the upper, colored a delicate pink. Her eyes are almond shaped and the same gray as her father's. In the sun they are flecked with green. At 14 she is barely five feet four inches, and the majority of that height consists of her long, coltish legs that are always running somewhere.

My Problem: When this story was originally told to me by my father, Sarah had no name. She was simply, The Girl. And it wasn't until much later in life that I discovered The Girl was modeled after me. She originally was of average height, very thin, with bright red hair and very blue eyes. That's how my dad saw me her. And though I've changed her appearance to suit my own desires, some aspects of my personality are mirrored in this fictional girl. For one, her tendency to push away confrontation and negative thoughts. I'd rather not think about the terrible things happening on Wall Street or in Washington DC, or even the problems in my own life. Just like Sarah, I wish I were braver than I am. And looking back on my book, I now see why it's been hard to bare this book to critique. So much of me is in there. In her.

My Solution: A la Sarah, I'm going to avoid confrontation. The sensible part of me knows I need critique because I am new to this world of commercial writers, agents, and publishing. So I'll push away that child in me that wants to curl up in a fetal position when I send off a chapter to be looked at. I need this. Yes I do. And I'll repeat this until I am comfortable with it.

*If you look in a mirror too long you start to see the fault lines, the creases, the flaws that a cursory glance overlooks. And you'll compare yourself to something assumed better than what you see.

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