Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Lie


So, I'm working on a proposal right now. This is the most difficult part of the writing world for me. Synopsis and sample chapters.
I'm also listening to some of conference recordings of the workshops I wasn't able to attend during the recent ACFW Conference.
In one of the workshops, Rachel Hauck and Susie Warren instruct the writer to find out what the lie is that their main character believes.
This gave me pause. The Lie?
After listening some more, a couple of things clicked with me re this new proposal. My main characters in this new story both believe a lie. This is what needs to be addressed in the story so that they can have a happily ever after. If neither has to confront the lie they believe, neither will have the chance to change or grow, and they have no hope of ever coming together to form a lasting relationship.
A Ha! I've given my two main characters each a pre-conception to believe in strongly as the story opens--pre-conceptions that will be tested. Pre-conceptions they will have the chance to staunchly defend or to adapt and change. Pre-conceptions they will have to abandon in order to be free to love.
So, what are the lies your characters believe? How are they tested, and what choices must the characters make as a result?
Oct. 26-30th I’m chatting with CJ all week at http://ponyexpressgraphics.blogspot.com/ . Be sure to stop by for a chance to win a prize at the end of the week. CJ hasn't even told ME what the prize will be!

21 comments:

  1. I heard of this concept too, although I didn't attend their workshop either. And I think it's another great way to look at character development. How does our character change throughout the book believing one thing and growing to see themselves or the world in a different way. Maybe it won't always be a "lie" but it will be something that changes them by the end of the book, right?

    (And hey, I liked that twist at the beginning of your book where Melissa thinks she's engaged to the grandfather! You pulled that off well!)

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  2. I like that. As soon as I read this post I began thinking about the lie(s) my characters believe at the start of the book and if they change. I'm in revisions now, so I'll definitely be thinking about this some more. Thanks, Erica.

    BTW, I really get intimidated by the process of submitting a synopsis and sample chapters b/f actually writing the MS. Obviously I haven't had to yet, but I feel for you.

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  3. I'm not sure I've heard of this, but what a great concept!! Thank you for telling about it. :-)

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  4. How fun to listen to workshops to prepare yourself for NANO! I think you've hit on something cool.

    I'll have to ponder the lie. I think--off the top of my head--that in my NANO novel my heroine believes she's too old to love.

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  5. Wow. This totally relates to my fictional characters....and also to myself. Can you tell my current Bible study is "Me, Myself, and Lies" by Jennifer Rothschild? :-)

    Thanks for sharing this info with us. I had never considered applying it to my characters.

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  6. That's a neat concept to have in your stories. I wish we could see these things in ourselves that need to be changed.

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  7. The synopsis is my most hated task! I was amazed to see the synopsis my agent wrote for my novel in her cover letter. It was very different from mine. I need to learn from her talent in this area.

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  8. That's an interesting question! I've actually thought about this in for my NaNo manuscript because my MC feels she has to lie about who she really is. She fears judgment. But when the man she loves finds out she's really his friend from their youth AND she's been to jail, he still accepts her. But she runs.

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  9. What a great post! My MC absolutely has change and growth by the end of the novel, but I'm having trouble articulating the precise "lie" (or lies) that she abandons in that process. I'm definitely going to think about this some more...

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  10. I'm glad you posted this, because just last week, I realized the big lies my hero and heroine believed. The lies had been there all along, but I wasn't aware of them. Thanks!

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  11. Oh, I second Jody's comment about Melissa thinking she's engaged to the grandfather! I was giggling so much Ben finally looked at me and went, "WHAT is so funny?"

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  12. Wow, this is very helpful, Erica, as I plan my next novel.

    I still haven't received my CD's from conference. I'm so bummed with how long everything takes to get to me here. I can't wait to receive your books and these CD's. Our post office man keeps seeing a very glum lady slamming the box closed each day.

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  13. Jody, DO NOT GIVE SPOILERS when I'm still waiting for my copies to arrive!!!!

    Erica, slap her, will ya!

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  14. Jody, I'm glad you liked that part! That's one of the editorial changes I got back on content edit, to make that more believeable. :)

    I think the LIE concept helped me to realize that "They fall in love" isn't enough of a change for a character. I want more.

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  15. Heather, in some ways trying to sell from proposal is easier than selling a completed manuscript, and in some ways it's harder. Especially writing that synopsis!

    That's the part that's hanging me up right now. Making sure I have enough strong story threads in the synopsis to keep it tight, tense, and compelling.

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  16. Jessica, I hadn't heard it either, but is sure resonated with me.

    Georgiana, that's a great lie for a heroine to believe at the opening of the book. I can't wait to see what you do with that.

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  17. Mary, isn't it cool how real life and fiction writing weave together? Quite often, the lesson my characters are trying to learn is the same one I need to learn anew or re-learn in greater depth.

    Linda, I wish I could do rewrites and edits on my life. Sigh.

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  18. Rosslyn, I'll take any coaching I can get on my synopsis! It is a place that needs some work in my writing arsenal.

    Cindy, I was intrigued by your NaNo synopsis on your blog today. Lies and truth and the past. wow!

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  19. CKHB, I don't know if you absolutely HAVE to know what the lie is, as long as you can show character growth, but posing the question, I think, can sure make you explore your story in deeper ways, can't it?

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  20. Jill, don't you feel brilliant when things click like that? :D

    Stephanie! That thrills my heart that someone actually laughed out loud reading that part. (Esp. someone not related to me. :D)

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  21. Eileen, stalking the MailMan isn't illegal, is it? :D

    :D :D :D :D regarding other comments about the book today. :D :D :D

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