This past Saturday I attended the West Branch Christian Writers One Day Conference. (www.westbranchchristianwriters.com) Our keynote speaker was Jeff Gerke, founder of Marcher Lord Press (http://www.marcherlordpress.com/). His speech spoke about hero’s and how each story needs to have one. He talked about the “knot” or the thing that keeps us all from moving forward with change in our lives. Things that hold us back: unworthiness, unhappiness, fear of the unknown, change, a different land, a different way of life… whatever it may be. When we (or our characters) can make a decision, a choice, to move away from that knot, then we can move towards the things that make us happier. More fulfilled.
Think about every movie you’ve ever seen. They all have heros and heroines. There is always someone we’re pulling for in the end, to make that change, step out in their faith and just DO IT. Save the day, save their life, save someone else’s life. (Forrest Gump – overcame his disabilities to do SO many things, Frodo – walks away from his quiet, simple, comfortable life in the shire to save the world…)
Then during Jeff’s class we talked more about heros. What makes a hero? They have to be sympathetic, compassionate, lovable or… well, heroic in some way. The reader doesn’t want some guy who isn’t likable to be the hero. The reader wants a “man of distinguished courage or ability” (as defined by dictionary.com) not some guy who’s in it for himself.
One hero in my life – balancing the checkbook!
During the awards ceremony I had the privilege to award a wonderful writer with a first place award for her blog entry. It was about her hero, her husband, losing his “cape” and not being able, physically, to be her hero anymore. She had to step in and be his heroine instead. That’s a true hero: stepping up when times get rough to fill in for someone who can no longer do it. Wow. Her story has two heros.
So I started to think: where is the heroine in my story? Do I encompass all these things it takes to define a hero? Some days. Not always. Does a hero have “off” days?
I’ve learned so much from this conference, and not just about writing. I’m moving forward, hopefully away from my knot, to find my hero or to find my inner heroine, and to be of “distinguished courage and ability” in all that I do.
Where is your hero today? What can you do to get rid of your knot and to be of “distinguished courage and ability” in your own life?