Friday, September 30, 2016

Storyteller's Journey

How My Protagonist Picked Me Up

When I crafted the first draft of my middle grade novel in the autumn of 2011, I had no idea I'd still be working on it five years later! In that time I've had two other children's books published. However, I always believed that Livvi Biddle was something special - something that just might be Livvi Biddle art by Victoria Lindstrom            worthy of traditional publication.

What I didn't know, and would never have believed, was that my protagonist, eleven-year-old Livvi Biddle, would pick me up as a writer.

Character-driven novels have always been my favorites to read. Give me a complex and compelling protagonist and I'll follow the author to the end of the book - no matter what the main character is doing. While working diligently on my own middle grade novel, I always knew my protagonist could be stronger, more interesting, hopefully, even extraordinary. However, that would take a ton of work! So while the months slipped slowly by, and then turned into years, I continued to change and challenge Livvi Biddle. Whether or not my novel is ever represented by a literary agent and published traditionally, I'm so very proud of her. She is a main character with spunk and courage.

The surprising thing is that when I look back on my own development as a writer (and in some ways as a person) it seems to mirror my protagonist's development. It took a stronger and wiser writer to create a stronger and wiser main character. My protagonist - Livvi Biddle - helped me as much as I've helped her. She truly picked me up, dusted me off, and said, "Are you about ready to believe in yourself?"

If you are a writer and feeling discouraged, don't give up. It just might be that your own protagonist is patiently waiting to pick you up, too.

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