Writing Your Worldview

Posted on May 27, 2009. Filed under: humor, making readers care, memoir, Meter o' Doom, novel writing, optimist, pessimist, worldview |

When I was a girl, my kid sister complained whenever we played together. She was a regular Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm compared with melodramatic me. “Why do we always have to pretend the people are poor?” She’d ask. Then, as now, I have a pessimistic optimism best cured by laughing at everything. I rated very high on the Meter o’ Doom.
In Memoir class last night, we discussed how the writer’s worldview–the general way that person sees life–can’t help but seep into stories, true or imagined. If you’re a glass-half-full person, your general hopefulness will color the way your protagonists work through problems as well as influence the ending. If you are slightly less optimistic, those beliefs and feelings will show up the same way. If you’re like me, convinced that nothing will ever go right again –I not only see the half-empty glass, there’s something floating in mine–then you’d better have a good sense of humor. I find that most readers want liberal amounts of hope in their stories. A story may start off a little gloomy, but by the end readers want some kind of hope for tomorrow. Not false, treacly optimism, but a character’s willingness to grow and change and try to see something good in life.
Writing Tip for Today: Don’t overreach and slap a happy face on your story. But you may want to evaluate how your writing fares on the Meter o’ Doom. Even if all your characters are poor and miserable at the start, they need to be active in bettering their own situations. These are the kinds of characters readers remember.

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