DIY MFA Book Club Prompts

I’ve gotten a little behind on the book club prompts, but only because I had to honor my reality for a bit. We just moved into a new house, and that takes up a lot of your free time. Especially when I didn’t have any time off from the day job to get things done. But we’re mostly settled in now and I can devote some time to playing catch up.

                Besides, since I don’t update my blog daily, it was a little hard to keep up with the frequent prompts and this way I can tackle several all in one go.

Prompt #6: Tell us about a time when resistance pointed you toward a juicy writing project

“Resistance comes from fear, and fear has a purpose.”

                In 2013, I got divorced. It was a messy process that left me emotionally scarred. I was unsure of who I really was anymore and if I was even worth anything to anybody. I didn’t like myself and I couldn’t see why anyone else would.

                After some time went by, I began to journal. I hadn’t written anything the entire time I was with ex-husband (one of the reasons I knew that it was toxic and I needed to get out) and I thought this was a step in the right direction to get myself back on track. These journal entries ranged from rants about my feelings or the way he’d treated me, to poems and scenes played out in my head. As I got back into “dating” the entries became about these boys that came and went faster than a revolving door.

                Until one day, I decided to write a story again. My first thought was to make an uplifting book about my experiences and how you can pull through even when you’ve been smashed to a million pieces. It was supposed to be fiction with pieces of my real life threaded through it. I wasn’t sure I could write it as a true story 100%. So, I made up names for the “characters” and gave them descriptions loosely based off the real people in my life and I started in.

                It didn’t take me long to realize this wasn’t going to work. The resistance began almost as soon as I finished the first few pages. It felt forced and unrealistic. This was just not the way the story needed to be told. I gave in to the truth. I sat down with a box of tissues and typed up what had happened to me. All the terrible things ex-husband said or did came flowing out onto the page like it had just been waiting for me to let it out.

                After that part was done, I started in on my journal entries. But any time I got too ahead of myself, trying to “wrap up” the story, the resistance started again. I didn’t know how to end the story, but I found that setting it down and coming back later gave me more perspective on what I was trying to say. The story itself still isn’t quite finished, but that’s okay. Maybe the next time I sit down to it, I’ll know how.

Prompt #7: What’s your favorite supporting character archetype, and why?

                My favorite would have to be the best friend character. I feel that a best friend is very important to real life people, so why not in the fictional world too? It’s good to have someone that you know you can fall back on and they’ll be there for you no matter what. They’re the person that is going to question why you’re acting so strange lately. They’ll notice when you aren’t quite yourself. They’ll bring up what you said you were going to do last Friday, but you never got around to. The BFF knows the protagonist almost better than they know themselves and I feel like they can help the reader get to know your main character without just info dumping.

                In my current WIP, the BFF Robin calls out Whitney for her stutter when she gets nervous in a way that is natural and playful instead of trying to explain her personality traits through flashbacks or boring inner monologue.

Prompt #8: What’s your favorite story type?

                I tend to lean toward the underdog themes in my stories. I like to write about the little guy standing up to the man. There’s almost always some stronger power standing in the way of my main character.

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                I’m still thoroughly enjoying this book club. I’ve been reading the DIY MFA book a little bit every day and I listen to the podcast all the time. I’m glad I found out about this website at this point in my career, it has proven to be helpful in so many ways.

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