This fall has been a season of change for me and my family. Things are different now. Both of my children are now in college, and I’m no longer homeschooling. My husband and I are now empty nesters though our younger son still lives at home. I’ve spoken of this before. But, what I haven’t spoken of is how different it feels to be in the season as opposed to anticipating it. It hasn’t been easy to find a place where we fit. We’re not actively parenting, and we’re not grandparents yet. (Hopefully, that won’t happen for a while. 🙂 ) I’m trying to launch a freelance writing career and learning how that works in scheduling my days. And I’m learning who I am again and what it is I have to contribute.
When I was considering the topic for this post, all of this and my novel came to mind. In my first post of this month, I spoke of the theme I was hoping to weave throughout the pages of my novel–acceptance of self and love of family. While this is still my theme, thinking about seasons of change has enriched it. If you write, you are familiar with the term “inciting incident.” Here is the definition if you’re not. “The inciting incident is an episode, plot point, or event that hooks the reader into the story. This particular moment is when an event thrusts the protagonist into the main action of the story.” (from www.nownovel.com/blog/incitingincident) It’s what makes the story interesting to readers. Anyway, I’ve already written the inciting incident for my novel, and I was thinking how similar this was to a season of change. My protagonist can’t go back to the way it was before the story began, and I’m not sure she would want to. By the time I’m done writing, I hope to have shown how much she has grown as a person by how much she has changed. I believe that would be a season of change by any definition.
As I’ve thought of how “season of change” has enriched the theme of my novel, I came upon some questions and quotes from one of my writing books. Jennifer Probst had this to say about theme in Write Naked. “Think about what is important to you and what you want readers to remember about your book. What are your characters really fighting for? What do you want to explore?” These are words that bring theme down to its most basic level, and they were some of the many words that made me glad I bought and read Ms. Probst’s book.
I also learned about story theme when I was reading the section about theme. Here is the definition. “The story theme runs on a deeper level, identifying what type of story you like to write. It’s a theme that’s present in your collective works.” (pg. 198, Write Naked, Jennifer Probst) That concept was fascinating to me as well. I’m too new of a writer to know for sure what my story theme is, but I have some ideas. I’ll need to come back to this post at some point and update if I’m right. (After I’ve published a few books, I hope. 🙂 )
In the first paragraph of this post, I wrote of my own season of change. The thing I’ve been most surprised about is that things are actually changing. For some reason, I thought there would be a core of things that would remain the same, but that core has been smaller than I would have thought. I understand the concept of “mid-life crisis” a bit better now and why people go out and do crazy things like buy a sports car. The changes at this time of life have been tumultuous, and it has been hard to breathe. Letting go of the familiar has seemed to be the watchword of people I know who are in this stage of life. The question I need to answer, I think, is whether I need to do the same. Hopefully, writing this book will give me the answers I’m looking for. I hope it does the same for you.
Have a great day, everyone!