Every workshop or class I’ve ever attended on writing has talked about how important it is to show what the characters are doing in a story and not just to tell. It makes the story more interesting and makes people want to read it. I can see this. The books that I’ve found more interesting are books that do a good job of describing their world and the situations that the characters find themselves in. That makes world building very important to me as a writer.
I’ve found another use for this concept though. I am a parent of two boys who are teenagers. One is 13, and one is almost 16. If any of you are parents of teenagers, you know that you tell them lots of things every day. And you probably think that whatever you tell them goes in one ear and out the other. Well, yesterday I had a revelation. For the past three years, I’ve been writing stories, and they’ve seen me carrying notebooks just about everywhere we’ve gone. I always thought they had just seen this as Mom’s thing. Last spring though, when I was talking to my older son about what kind of English he would like to do for the coming school year (We homeschool.), he chose a course that had the students writing a novel during the course of a school year. I had decided to let him choose for this year, his sophomore year, since we would be doing American literature and British literature the following two years. I was very proud when he chose this course as identifying with Mom is not something a 15-year-old boy usually does. So, yesterday, I was thinking of how this had come about, and I realized that I had not told him to choose this course. I had shown him that writing was valuable and enjoyable. It brought home to me that my children are always watching, and if I consider something to be important, I need to make sure my actions reflect my words.
Until next time, be real!