Writer’s Craft #55 – From Self-Righteousness to Vengeful Pen
Jennifer Lott has appeared in print in Neo-Opsis Magazine (“A Day in the Life”; Issue 18; December 17, 2009) and the Opus 5 Okal Rel anthology (“Pet Peeves”, Absolute XPress, 2011). Her first public foray into writing is her popular fan fiction Alternative Ending to the Animorphs, which was well received by readers disappointed by the dark turn taken by this young adult series in its final installments. An early childhood educator Jennifer writes mostly for children and young adults. But is currently working on an SF novel. She said “yes” to boyfriend JP Sullivan this December and the marriage is planned for June 2012.
A great deal of a writer’s inspiration comes from life. The first story in which I ever took pride came to me the day my little sisters refused to scrape leftover food from their dishes. I knew I was right, that they were lazy and deserved to suffer for it, so naturally I wrote a self-indulgent story about me being a wronged witch who had to curse their dishes to teach them a lesson.
I’ve since learned that no amount of magic actually communicates the dishes grievance effectively. My real-life sisters remained baffled and angry about my nagging right up until the point that washing the dishes became their chore.
Of course, the fictional versions of them give in to my curse and end up teaching their friends to respect it, too.
My vengeful motives for writing this story having cooled over the years, I have tried to shape it into something publishable. One submission still came back with the feedback that it was too preachy. This is the trap, I think, when a writer overindulges in their own side of any issue. A good story needs to be open to multiple possibilities, no matter how righteous the writer is feeling.
Have you written a self-righteous story or scene? Tell the tale. Did you let the transgressing characters influence your protagonist?