Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The One With The Other Side of Things #slice2014

Every Tuesday, I participate in the Slice of Life challenge at Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here

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There are (at least) two sides to every story. 

As I work on my novel, I've had to tell my main character's story but at the same time write about the other characters in the story. My novel is set in first person so I'm telling it through the eyes of my main character. The tricky part is that as a writer, I have to know everyone else's story and know how they respond to my main character based on who they are and what they bring to the relationship. How does she make them feel? How do her actions impact them? How does their story intertwine with hers? All the characters have to have their own story, their own hopes and dreams, strengths and flaws. This is logical and makes sense to me but I'm still learning how to know this and bring it to life in my writing. It's a challenge to think through someone else's lens while looking at the same picture. 

This year, I'm working with an administrative intern through a program in my district that gives teachers an opportunity to gain experience as an administrator by working with a mentor administrator. I always enjoyed having practicum and student teachers when I was teaching and now I get to be a mentor in my current role. It's nice to have someone to work closely with and to learn with her. In the past few weeks, there have been moments when I know I seem scatter-brained or overwhelmed. If I was on my own, I would take a deep breath and focus but with another colleague to witness my day in and day out emotions, I'm so much more aware of how she must perceive me. Isn't that an interesting thought? How does another person see you? How do you seem to someone else? What does that person bring to the situation that impacts how they see you?

I'm lucky that I knew the person I'm working with before she came to work with me. I'm also lucky that I'm able to explain my thought process and articulate why I do what I do, why I make certain decisions. I'm even more lucky that she isn't just with me for one day, she'll be with me all year and I hope that over time, she'll see that those scatter-brained, overwhelmed moments don't compare to the focus and intention I put into my work most of the time. 

I'm so fascinated by how writing has helped me understand life. Writing this blog post helps me think through what I've been experiencing but writing my novel (which is fiction) also helps me think through what I've been experiencing in real life. There are (at least) two sides to every story and whether I'm writing fiction or non-fiction, writing gives me the opportunity to examine those two sides. 

So many books come to mind when I think about seeing things from a different perspective. Isn't that kind of the point of a book? To see the world through the author's eyes or the main character's eyes? But Wonder by RJ Palacio stands out the most strongly. We get to hear Auggie's story but we also get to see the perspectives of other characters as well. What experiences or books have given you the opportunity to think more closely about the other side of your story (that you are living or writing)?

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