This post is brought to you in part by Mrs. B’s Haunted Blog Tour: Welcome, tour-ists! You can find a general introduction to Storytraining below. If you follow this blog and comment on this post, you’ll be entered into (or get an additional entry in) my giveaway of a custom-written Looseleaf Handcrafted Story. Best of luck!
With Halloween approaching, many of us are creating objects of protection – if nothing else, a jack-o’-lantern. What objects make you or your character(s) feel protected? His old jacket? The key to her house? We can use these to show when a character feels insecure: It’s enough for him just to button up one more button on the jacket, or for her to check that the keys are in her pocket, to clue in your audience.
Maybe, your character is protecting someone else. Protection is that balancing point between safety and danger, and there’s a lot of potential for dramatic conflict there. The guardian might be negligent, leaving her charge in danger (e.g. Sarah in The Labyrinth, who lets her baby brother get stolen by the Goblin King). Or the guardian might be stifling, and her charge ends up yearning for a wider world complete with risks (e.g. Rapunzel in her tower).
As a storyteller, you protect your own work. The decision is, what kind of guardian do you choose to be? Are you so eager to share your work that you don’t rehearse or revise first? Or, do you lock up your novel in a drawer, and never show it to anyone? I’d argue that we storytellers need to be ready to let our work out into the world, but we need to stay right there fighting for it, from creation to revision to marketing. As Sonja Lanzener put it, “An artist needs to be a warrior. Welcome to the battle.”