Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Chocolate Covered Lies, Part Two

This is the second part of Amy Wallace's post about creating characters' lies. Today, she tells us some of those lies and gives an example.--Sandy



AmyLast time we discussed how identifying a character’s lie is the key to discovering who she is and how to tell her deepest story. This post, we'll talk about specific lies and use an example to better explain how to apply a lie to your character's backstory.

Below is a partial list of lies I’ve developed from my background in counseling, teaching the concept of lies, and applying what I’ve learned to fictional characters.
I’m unloveable
I’m helpless
I’m worthless
I’m not enough
I’m stuck
It’s all my fault
I’m a disappointment
Consider the lie “I’m not enough” and how a character would live out this lie. She might give up on life, become an alcoholic, an introvert who never leaves her home, or she might take on life to prove she’s more than enough through straight As, perfect work records, climbing the ladder as fast as she can.

How you apply the lie to your character is as unique as the characters you create.

One of my favorite characters is Ashley Walters, a tough, street-smart cop who has it all together. She graduated top of her police academy class and is a favorite with the people she serves because she goes the extra mile to care about victims and make sure justice is served. But inside, she knows she’s not enough. She’ll never measure up to her perfect, all-American brother, Eric. When he died and she wasn’t able to save him or bring his killer to justice, she had proof her lie was absolute truth. Even so, Ashley lives to prove she’s enough, to perform, to protect herself almost as much as she protects those she serves.

Doesn't Ashley's lie help you understand her inner working even though you haven't met her on the page yet?

Our job as writers is to take all we know about our characters and tell their stories to the very best of our ability. A heaping helping of prayer and dependence on God enables us to tell His story through ours. Chocolate covered lies can assist in that weighty goal and help us draw readers deep into stories of healing and hope.



Do you have a "favorite" lie you tend to use, or one that isn't mentioned above? 


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Amy Wallace writes Dark Chocolate Suspense—high-action suspense that delves deep into heart issues. Amy is a homeschool mom, speaker, online writing instructor, co-leader of a young writer’s club, and avid chocoholic.

Her novels include the Place of Refuge series: Hiding in Plain Sight and Nowhere to Run, the Defenders of Hope series: Ransomed Dreams, Healing Promises, and Enduring Justice. Amy is also a contributing author of A Novel Idea: Best Advice on Writing Inspirational Fiction, God Answers Moms’ Prayers, and Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series: Diabetes.



9 comments:

  1. My current series involves three adult siblings whose father committed suicide when they were children. Each believes some variation of the lie that their daddy didn't love them enough.

    Awesome "Chocolate Covered Lies" posts, Amy. Loved 'em! :-)

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  2. Amy, I've loved these posts too. I freelance edit, and you explain using lies so well,I'm asking several clients to read them. Thanks for sharing these articles with us!

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  3. Thanks, Amy. When I keep asking "Why?", I can get down to the nitty-gritty of that lie.

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  4. I think characters have to have some kind of self-doubt, whether it's legit or not. If they're too perfect, readers can't relate to them well. I have really enjoyed learning about these lies. Thanks, Amy.

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    1. Thanks, Tanya. So glad the posts have been enjoyable and helpful to you.

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  5. I'm a nonfiction author so I don't create characters; my comment's more from the aspect of a reader who struggles with lies herself.
    Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I was told that I was stupid and would not amount to anything. I responded as Ashley did - trying to be perfect.
    I was in my thirties before I began to recognize the lies and to start the long walk to healing.
    When I read novels with characters who are trying to overcome their lies, sometimes the struggle is too easy. I know that's not the focus of some stories, but I identify with the heart of a character walking the same path I am. I feel like we are healing together.

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    1. Oh Sherry...
      If only the person who says such awful things would instead choose to lift a person up, rather than tear them down. Would accept that each one of us is a unique individual crafted and meticulously designed by our Master's hands, with much love and value. Thanks for sharing your heart!

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    2. Thank you for sharing that, Sherry. I'm so glad you came to recognize those lies and learned the truth about yourself and your value as a person.

      And you're right. In fiction (whether books or movies) problems can be tied up in a neat little bow in what seems a short amount of time. As a writer of Christian fiction, I hope readers can use those moments as encouragement to discover what you did--God is right there with us in the good and bad. He values us and knows our hearts.

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  6. Thank you for sharing that, Sherry. I'm so glad you came to recognize those lies and learned the truth about yourself and your value as a person.

    And you're right. In fiction (whether books or movies) problems can be tied up in a neat little bow in what seems a short amount of time. As a writer of Christian fiction, I hope readers can use those moments as encouragement to discover what you did--God is right there with us in the good and bad. He values us and knows our hearts.

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