Using the Life Cycle in Your Writing | Author: Maxine Thompson

Life is said to evolve in three stages. Creation, survival and destruction. Similar to the life cycle of birth, life, death, and resurrection, these cycles should be reflected in your writing.

In the first part of a story, a character may be creating a career, a new love, a new relationship, a new home, or a new family. In the middle of the book, she is just trying to survive and make ends meet. After getting burnt out, the character might go through a mid-life crisis and walk off from a job, a marriage, or a family, seemingly destroying all she has built. But this is where the cycle of life, birth, death, and resurrection repeats itself. The character intuitively senses she has died inside and wants to reinvent herself to experience the feelings of creation again. On the other hand, you might start your story at the death cycle. That is, the point in the story that the character runs off from her old stifling life.

Have an idea of cause/effect, and understand the relationships of the different characters, and your story will fit together in a unified whole. If not, the story will seem episodic.

Your story should have layers like the concentric rings in a tree. The bark is the outer story; the inner rings are the inner life of your characters, their social/interpersonal life, and their relationship to the world.

Your novel should have branches: your subplots which mirror your main plot.

Your novel should have roots: the things that ground the main character(s) or the backstory, which motivates the characters.

Your novel should bear fruit: your theme.

Remember. The worst writing is often published, applauded and celebrated-that is, fiction that assumes no risk on the part of the writer. This type of writing makes the reader comfortable about the world he lives in and does not challenge any of his assumptions about life. Unfortunately, good fiction often deals with moral ambivalence, no pat answers. It often ends with the wrong or ambiguous choices, resulting in no clear cut triumphs or happy-ever-after Hollywood endings, but haunting, sometimes disturbing resolutions. I think of the endings of Morrison's Beloved, Song of Solomon, and Sula, and I'll never forget how it took me years to see the realism in these endings.

The theme of resurrection has always surfaced in literature. On a global level, this has translated into people reinventing their lives. This is why we're seeing so many second careers. This is what this book is a part of for me-a second career and a brand new life. This is my resurrection. Please use it to re-create yourself. Learn to write riveting fiction. May you ever be in a creative mold in your writing.

Copyright (c) 2006 Black Butterfly Press

About the Author:

Dr. Maxine E. Thompson is the owner of Black Butterfly Press, Maxine Thompson’s Literary Services, Thompson Literary Agency and . She hosts Internet radio shows on and on .