It’s August already. Can you believe that? I can’t. July passed by way too quickly, and now I’ve gotta figure out school stuff for my kids because that’s happening this month. There’s transitions I’m not ready for and scheduling I don’t know how to juggle yet. We’ll manage, I’m sure. But the impending event looms ahead and it doesn’t help my anxiety any.
What also doesn’t help is my lack of progress toward my massive rewrites. I completed one chapter in July. One is better than nothing, right? So what if I still have 60 more to go? At this rate it’ll only take me another 5 years to complete. *sigh*
But let’s get past all the doomy-gloomy stuff that makes me an insecure writer and talk about the question of the month.
IWSG Question of the Month – What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time you read it you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. And why?
When I read the first question, I immediately thought of 45 Master Characters by Victoria Schmidt.
Honestly, it’s not going to teach an experienced writer much. It’s my favorite because it’s the first book I bought when I began honing my craft. I loved looking at the different archetypes and figuring out how my characters fit–MaTisha being Zeus, the King; Cameron as Apollo, the Business Man; and Kaio as Athena, the Father’s Daughter. (I don’t adhere to the gender roles in the book.)
I struggled with Derek, though. I really wanted to slot him into Dionysus, the Woman’s Man archetype and even pushed him that way in book 1, despite it never really fitting him. I started to wonder if he wasn’t Persephone, the Maiden, with how often he got in trouble and how he always needed help to dig himself out. But even that didn’t quite match him and his motivations. What really defines him? His bad decisions? That’s a big part of it. But the driving force behind those decisions is almost always his family. His entire identity is wrapped up in them–his wife, his children–and there’s no length he wouldn’t go for them.
Looking at the archetypes again, I can see he’s Demeter, the Nurturer, which I find even more interesting given Demeter’s role in Greek mythology (the Olympian goddess of the harvest and agriculture, presiding over grains and the fertility of the earth). Derek becomes a key component in my world’s ecosystem, and he’s also one of the few remaining servants to a fertility deity.
It’s fun for me to see how my imaginary people fit into different roles. It’s the same level of joy one gets from taking a BuzzFeed quiz (probably the same level of usefulness too, if you already know your characters). And yet it remains one of the most impactful craft books for me. Would I recommend it to others? Eh, not really. But characters archetypes are fun if you want to check them out.
Are you surprised it’s August already? Are you more productive than me lately? What craft books have influenced you?