The Jigsaw Heart

Have you ever opened yourself up to someone, maybe telling a secret you kept for years or a hurtful memory from your childhood. During the entire time you feel scared. You wonder how this person is going to response with something that’s very meaningful to you. Will they laugh? Will they look down on you for it? Will they even care?

The reason you feel this is because you are literally pulling a chunk of your heart out and handing it to that person, trusting them to do the right thing with it.

That’s what writing feels like.

Now I’m not going to defend poor writing. I’m not even going to advocate for people to stop criticizing us because let’s be honest, we need it. But for those who might be wondering why it seems writers are stubbornly sensitive about their work, here’s the basic truth about us and most artists in general; when we write, we’re not just stringing a story together. We’re not just throwing words on paper. Those words have meaning, sometimes deep meaning. Bits and pieces of our very being rearranged into another form.

When I started on my first book, I tried to create a character that was suppose to be modeled off my dad. But as I wrote he started to develop into someone else. And I was fine with that at first. However, it wasn’t until I finished the story and was working on the edit that I realize his flaws and fears were something close to mine own. Unintentionally some of my struggles, issues I was dealing with at the moment, were running congruently with that character’s.

Through writing, I discovered myself.

You can’t write something that you don’t know, which means your limited to your own experience or knowledge. Sometimes that means what you are, your fears, perks, flaws, and deepest thoughts, will bleed through on paper. It’s a beautiful thing, but it can be uncomfortable.

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Putting yourself out there for people to pick apart and critique is never going to be an entirely fun experience. We discover stuff about ourselves that we either didn’t know about or were in denial over. But as painful as it feels when it’s happening, it can be a rewarding thing when it’s all said and done.

So if you’re a writer, keep writing. One day you’ll step back and look at your work, something you spent your time on, something you created with your own mind and ability.

And it will be beautiful.

Why?

Because it will be more than just a work of fiction. More than just a story. Everything you cherish, everything you know, incarnated in ink. And maybe just like me (and many others) you’ll learn a few things about yourself. When all those little pieces start coming together, you step back, and see the bigger picture.

And it’s you.


There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.


 Ernest Hemingway

The Purpose of a Writer

Part 3

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We write to inspire and we inspire by giving people something they would remember- that is our purposes as a writer.

But I find increasingly more a final purpose we seem to forget. One that on its face seems so obvious yet gets buried beneath the rules and agendas of our own premises.

Why do I like fantasy? The honest truth is I like swordplay and magic and I like adventure, but the reality is I will never be Beowulf slaying dragons and saving my kingdom. I live through the books I read.

I think we’ve lost this. Somewhere in the middle of trying to put forth a moral message we tend forfeit the witty dialogue and exciting plot twists for virtue and prose. I might agree with the agenda being pushed, but when I’m reading a crime thriller, I want to see action and passion. I care little for anything else.

The third purpose of a writer is to entertain. And I know that seems like the most basic one, but I myself am guilty of losing sight of this. Is your story interesting or is it just a promotion for something?

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Remember why your reader came.

If you’re writing a romantic comedy it’s probably not likely your audience came to learn about the five stages grief. They’re there for the purpose of finding characters to love and a story that will get them excited.

I’ve read a lot of stories that had a really good message behind them, but the plot was dull and the characters regurgitated. When your epic fantasy genre starts to sound like a sermon, well, you’re in the wrong field.

The purpose of a writer- to be entertaining. After all, it’s what people are paying for. A good story with great characters that will excite them, make them laugh, make them cry, and give them a break from the harshness of reality. It’s what we were originally intended to do. Does your story give people that sense? Or is everyone informed, yet bored.

When I’m writing, I like to picture a story I’ve always wanted to read. I like to make characters I’ve always wanted to meet. It’s got to be exciting, keeping people on their toes, and having people intrigued every step of the way. I say this as a reader, not a writer. As someone who looks for that thrill of a good story. If it fails to do that it goes back on the shelf, never to be touched or remembered again.

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To endure, to inspire, and to entertain. The three biggest reasons we do what we do. The reasons we create. The reasons why we spend our free time pouring out our very minds into hours of research and editing. The reasons why we stay awake at night trying to form a scenario or fix a situation.

Though I know not everyone is going to fall in love with my stories nor will everyone walk away satisfied, I hope that most people will feel like I did something good and made their time worthwhile.

Above anything, above even inspiring you, I hope that I’ve made you feel. I hope I can make you smile at times and forget reality for a brief moment. I hope you enjoy what I do- as I enjoy it.

After that, after you’ve laughed and cried, I hope you then feel free to be inspired.

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This is the conclusion of The Purpose of a Writer series. Hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for your support. 

The Purpose of a Writer

Part 2

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Sometimes I hate it when people ask me who my favorite authors are. Not because I don’t have any (fact is I have too many favorites) but simply for the reason that people automatically assume I aspire to become them.

I’m a classic kind of person and I have an unapologetic love for J. R. R. Tolkien’s work. But even though I write a lot of stories in that genre my style isn’t very similar to his at all.

That being said, whether or not you’re a fan, Tolkien is still a prime example of a writer who fulfilled his purposes.

Last week (see; Purpose of a Writer Part 1) I wrote one of the purposes of a writer was to create something that would last- something that people would remember. Tolkien did that with both The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. But he did something else. Something more.

He inspired. He inspired a lot of people- myself included. He opened a door that exposed a world of adventures for writers to explore. A concept for creators to build on. Let’s be honest; how many great modern stories wouldn’t exist today if it weren’t for him?

Yet I don’t aspire to be the next J. R. R. Tolkien. Or the next J. K. Rowling or George R. R. Martin or anyone else. I have my own style, my own characters, and my own story to tell. I aspire to be myself, to stay true to myself, and to remain organically me. But that’s not to say these authors didn’t help me. The opposite really. These people inspired me in so many ways; they inspired me to imagine, to dream, and to write.

They inspired me to be a better me.

The second purpose of a writer is to inspire and this may be one of the most important things you’ll ever do as an author. Your story should leave a mark somewhere. The reader should feel some sort of connection and that connection should spark a version of inspiration. Maybe it will inspire them to do something as simple as starting a new hobby or something as big as starting a new career. You never know.

Inspiration is like a flame and it catches. We use fire for many things, both for the light and the warmth it yields. But it needs fuel. As a writer my job is to provide that using what creativity lies inside of me, pouring it out on to a page. I create the spark, the reader then must decide what to do with it.

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Maybe one day I’ll be the inspiration someone needed. Perhaps a verse they read will help them look at the world differently. A lonely heart willing to take a chance on love again or a trepidatious soul ready to take a stand for what is right. If just one individual finds inspiration then I’ve done my job. For if one person catches the flame, they spread it to those around them and those spread to those around them and thus the fire grows ever stronger. Ever warmer. Ever brighter.

And it all began with just one single spark.


Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.  

Steven Covey
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The Purpose of a Writer

Part 1

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What makes a story good? Preference plays a key role in determining whether or not a novel becomes popular but trends are always changing and everyone has different opinions.

I for one am not a big fan of having stories rated by a few choice people inside an industry, deciding what is good and what is not based on a definition they created themselves. I can name you several books that made the New York Times Bestseller’s List that I thought were so terrible I wanted to unlearn how to read.

That being the case, is there such thing as a good story?  Or is it simply beauty in the eye of the beholder?

I think back to the classics- yes the classics. What made them literature? What makes them so special that high school kids are forced to endure hours and hours of endless Shakespearean prose that hardly anyone understands nowadays. I absolutely hated To Kill A Mockingbird in tenth grade when I was forced to read it for a school report. So why do we do it? Why do we hang on to such old scripts that are far removed from the times?

Simply put, the reason we are even still talking about them is the reason why.

What makes a story good is that it is remembered. Preserved inside the hearts and minds of the readers, passed down, coming up in conversations and making it’s way into ideas. We may hate it, but we remember it because it left us something to remember.

I hate to say this, because I myself am not a published author yet, but observing the trends around me, the recent books and screenplays that have hit the market for the last few years, everything comes and goes so fast. If you think about it, a book suddenly explodes in popularity because of a film adaptation about to come out and for the entire month it is all everyone talks about. Then just like, by the end of the year, people struggle to remember key details about it. They’re bored, wanting to jump to the next thing.

To me, there’s nothing worse than hating a book, but not remembering why I hate it. The way I know a book was at least worth my time is if I can sift through the billions and billions of words implanted in my brain and select that particular story. I can recall the main parts (though I’m always terrible with recalling names). I know it from every other story out there because it was worth remembering.


First purposes of a writer- give people something to remember, for whatever reason it is. Whether it was your characters that created amusing scenarios or the way the plot twisted so unexpected or the subtle romance that unfolded in a unique way. Give the audience something that will last.

One day, I hope to present a story that will be loved, but ultimately I hope it won’t be forgotten. I hope it will be worth recalling in the future, maybe come up in conversations or worm its way into people’s heads when they see a certain picture or hear a song. If I do that, then I know, I’ve succeeded in fulfilling at least one of my purposes.

And that will make it all worthwhile.


If I’m going to be anything more than average, if anyone is going to remember me, then I need to go further, in art, in life, in everything


Salvador Dali

The Start of Becoming

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”
— Virginia Woolf
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Here we are to begin and oh what an adventure may be in store. For those of you who find success in the mysterious world of social media and blogging I tip my hat to you. But never say I won’t try.

To give you some background, I’m an aspiring author. One of the millions you might say. We all dream of it; to show our stories to the world. To have people drawn to them. To love them as we love them. I learned in the two years of working on my first manuscript that perseverance is key, coupled with a vivid imagination and peek organizational skills.

Two years ago I decided to go down this unpredictable path. After some attempts at trying to get into law schools or the medical field I realized that, while interesting careers, they weren’t holding me. I have a variety of things I’m more than willing to learn about but nothing that I actually wanted to do the rest of my life.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I always knew I’d be a writer. I displayed all the usual symptoms since I was a child. My sister still has a sequel to the Cinderella story I writ for her when I was eight. At ages fourteen and sixteen, I myself (with my mom as my editor) penned two plays which I directed for our local church. And of course, the ever classic sign, my favorite subject in school was (can you guess it) English.

It’s clear to see I love what I do.

But to make it my career?

I have to admit, it’s kind of scary. And I’m sure most people who decide to enter the world of entertainment feel the same. We’re creative people with open minds. Many of us have the ability to learn nearly anything. We could be doctors, lawyers, or run companies of our own but that ache to do what we love can overpower the sensible.

Am I taking a risk? Maybe.

But honestly, it’s one I’m willing take. With that said, I’m glad you’re here to share in my little adventure. There may be some laughs, possibly some tears. If anything, I hope you’ll be entertained.

So welcome. And remember:

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”

Chinese Proverb