Redefining Who I Am–My Backstory

Part One – My Backstory

LynneCollier.com
Lynne Collier – Author & Kingdom Purpose Coach

 

Discovering My Kingdom Purpose

I now know about God’s purpose for my life, but in early adulthood, I attended a church which didn’t speak much about the Holy Spirit and His work in our lives. The congregation was taught the laws and rules of ‘being a good Christian’ and entrance into heaven, it seemed, was by doing more good deeds than bad ones so the scales ‘tipped in our favour’. The atmosphere was one of perfection and judgement. I often thought God must be very disappointed with me and I felt that I let Him down constantly. The overwhelming feeling of falling short of God’s grace led me to fall away from the church and it was several years before I felt strong enough to try another church. Maybe you’ve experienced this too.

So I sought the Lord and He heard me. I was invited to a church for a dedication of a newborn, a baby born to friends of the family, so I happily attended. The difference between my previous church and this one was like night and day and I was drawn to follow Christ again. This new church spoke about the Holy Spirit and how the Holy Trinity works together. They also had classes I could take during the week to study my faith more and find a deeper relationship with my Lord.

It was at one of these classes I learned about Spiritual Gifts and I was astonished to hear I had been given special Gifts by God and didn’t know it! I took every class I could to learn about God and spoke often with believers who had been involved with the church for many years. Through their guidance and mentorship, I gradually realized the unique way God has designed me for a specific purpose. I’m not just here to live then die and hope the in-between is good enough to get me into Heaven. I’m here for a reason! We all are. God has a royal assignment for me and every believer. Yes, royal; He is the King of Kings and we are His children, princes and princesses in the Kingdom of God on Earth. How cool!

I learned to realize my Kingdom Purpose by studying about my Spiritual Gifts and how God, my Heavenly Father, has also given me a heart passion for his work for me, a personality that works well with what I need to do, natural abilities which help me to carry out specific tasks, and life experiences to help me grow in my faith and calling. These are all in a book I studied at church, called S.H.A.P.E by Erik Rees. This book has played a major role in every aspect of my life, as you’ll come to know if you follow my blog. Another great book to study is The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.

I tried to fit everything I could into one blog, but there are so many areas of my life I had to work on to find my Kingdom Purpose I’ve decided to blog about each aspect separately, so you don’t need to read a ten-page blog.  I hope you’ll join me as I share with you how God brought clarity and purpose to my life.

Till next time, I hope you are blessed.

Lynne

 

Resources:

Spiritual Gifts Test

S.H.A.P.E by Erik Rees

The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

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Writing Fantasy || Point of View

Who is going to tell your story? The answer to this question will play an important role in the tone of your entire novel. We listen to other people probably every day in one form or another; in personal conversations, a lecture at school, a boss, or characters on a TV show. Notice how the tone of their voice influences you. Are they interesting, funny, lively, friendly or quarrelsome? The characters telling the story have their own unique voice and, depending on that voice, will tell a scene in a specific way. Have you listened to your characters?

 

Writing Point of View
Point Of View

 

8 Points To Ponder For Point Of View   #WritingPov

 

  • Have you thought about what tense you’ll write in? Will your story read better in past tense or present tense?
  • Past Tense – “Suzie shopped at the mall”.
  • Present Tense – “Suzie is shopping at the mall”.
  • When you sit to write each scene, who do you hear talking in your mind?
  • First Person – “I love donuts”.
  • Second Person – “You love donuts”.
  • Third Person – “Suzie loves donuts”.
  • Omniscient (aka all-knowing) – “Suzie loves donuts but she doesn’t realize they’re laced with a powerful hallucinogenic”. Use this voice sparingly, as when none of the characters know something but your reader needs to know.

 

Choose Your Narrators   #AmWriting

Just like in a movie audition, test your characters’ voices to see which point of view sounds best for each scene. You may want to do several viewpoints throughout your story, but remember to not switch viewpoints in the middle of a scene or chapter unless you make a specific break in the narrative. It confuses the heck out of the reader. If you’re new to writing fantasy/fiction keep it simple and write one POV for each scene. You may feel like you want to write the entire story from one POV, but test other voices to see if you can spice things up, add some humour or simply add a different perspective to delight the reader.

Voice Test   #WritingPOV

Write a paragraph from the author’s POV. This means you just write out the paragraph as it happens, without emotion or opinion. Then write it out in all the voices of your chosen characters. Let them say what they feel and what they’re thinking.

  • Who sounds good for this particular scene?
  • Who has an emotional investment in what’s happening?
  • Who will it influence later in the story as your plot unfolds?
  • Who sees something no one else does?

Example:

  • “Suzie went to the mall again. I hope she’s not spending all her money. She still has two weeks before her next paycheck”.
  • “She went to the mall again. Who does she think she is, buying all those fancy expensive clothes? They look ridiculous on her anyway.”
  • “Suzie went to the mall this morning. She needed to choose a dress for her grandmother’s funeral”.

Do you see how each character changes the tone of the scene? What were they thinking and feeling? Ask them why. Draw the scene out from your chosen character’s point of view.

 

Resources

Back To The Future – where the twists are revealed by other people and by the main character.

Structuring Your Novel – K.M.Weiland

 

Till next time, I hope you are blessed.

Lynne

Writing Fantasy || Outlining 5 – Foreshadowing

Your characters have a backstory, a personal history that will shape their life in your novel. They have childhoods, education, loves, conflicts, careers. All of these must be present in your character building for you to see where you need to foreshadow an event. When the event happens, your reader should be able to look back and think, “Oh ya, I kinda saw that coming”, but still be blown away when it happens.

Writing Foreshadow
I Didn’t See That Coming!

Keeping Track of WhereYour Characters Have Been

One way to keep track of timeline in your novel is to use a paper calendar with large squares, create one online, or use sticky notes. If you have room, put these on your office wall. If something epic happens to Lucy on Friday, you need to leave a trail of breadcrumbs (metaphorically) or have Lucy experience something similar before the epic event. Put a few breadcrumbs in the days, months or years leading up to the event. This gets the reader anticipating something and committed to turning the page.

Examples of Foreshadowing   #WritingTips

In the story of The Two Towers, Frodo says he needs to know that Gollum will come back from the pitifully evil person he saw him becoming. This foreshadows Frodo later succumbing to the evil power of the ring.

So, it doesn’t matter that your protagonist was a ballerina as a child unless she’s a ballerina when we meet her in the story as an adult, or there was a traumatic dancing accident which will haunt her throughout her life and shape her future. The foreshadow leads to an event or a realization in her life later.

One of my favourite old movies is Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? A nasty crotchety old woman is just plain mean to everyone. You have to know there’s something in her past that made her change from the beautiful little girl she used to be. As the story progresses, we see her relationship with her sister whom she lives with and cares for. It’s in the dialogue and flashbacks that we learn what happened to Baby Jane.

By far one of the best movies of foreshadowing is Sixth Sense written by M. Night Shyamalan. The entire movie is leading the viewer creepily towards a shocking truth. I didn’t see it coming until near the end. I believed everything until then and was blown away by the ending. I had to go back and watch it again to get all the clues that were left like tiny breadcrumbs. Now THAT’s foreshadowing at its best!

Where do you need to add a breadcrumb of information that will have your reader saying, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming! Wait – yes I did!”

 

Resources:

The Two Towers

Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?

Sixth Sense

 

Till next time, I hope you are blessed.

Lynne

Writing Fantasy || Outlining 4 – Conflict

So you have a nice fantasy/fiction story going on and you have a happy ending. Guess what? We’re going to turn that all upside down now! Get ready to throw your readers a curve ball and upset the apple cart. Every story needs conflict – even children’s stories. Think about it. Where would Little Red Riding Hood be without the big bad wolf? We all love a villain to hate.

Writing Conflict
Little Red Riding Hood and the Fox

 

Here are some elements to think about as you write the outline of your conflict:

What To Consider Before Writing Conflict

  1. What motivates both your hero and the villain so they’re drawn into the upcoming conflict?
  • Love
  • Greed
  • Pride
  • Anger
  • Duty
  • Other ideas…

 

  1. What keeps your hero and villain locked together in this conflict?
  • Past History
  • Jealousy
  • Mutual Love Interest
  • Loss of Someone or Something
  • Misunderstanding
  • Other ideas…

12 Key Elements On Writing Conflict   #WritingTips

  1. Your hero tries to understand what just happened in the inciting event and what it means to them and their way of life. This is the start of Act 2.
  2. Reveal the power of the antagonist (villain) and the true nature of the conflict arising.
  3. The hero begins to recognize what’s at stake and searches for ways to fight the battle.
  4. Your hero recognizes the true reason behind the conflict.
  5. With new knowledge and understanding, your hero gains headway in the conflict.
  6. Foreshadows Act 3 (sets up the base for what’s coming next) and reminds the hero what’s at stake. (We’ll look at foreshadowing more later).
  7. Your hero rallies everything they’ve got and launches it against the enemy with a seeming
  8. A defeat for your hero after the seeming victory in Act 2. This begins Act 3.
  9. The hero questions their goal, commitment and choices. They begin to doubt themselves and their ability to win the battle.
  10. Your hero comes face to face with the enemy.
  11. The next event is a duel to the death for the hero and the villain. This can be physically or metaphorically. The reader needs to be kept on the edge of their seat here because they know one or the other will lose.
  12. The hero wins and the conflict is ended.

The ending of your story should give the reader ‘breathing space’ and ease them into the hero’s new reality.

Watch a favourite movie – it doesn’t need to be fantasy – and see how the conflict escalates and is resolved.

Resources

The Hobbit -The Battle of the Five Armies

Maleficent

DivergentDivergent

 

Till next time, I hope you are blessed.

Lynne

Writing Fantasy || Outlining 3 – Story Arc

Most best-sellers and box-office hits have a main character that goes through an enormous transformation and either becomes a hero or ends up becoming a villain. (Anakin as he turns to the Dark Side). The result is what keeps us talking about it long after the story has ended and we’ve slid back into our own reality. It’s this change that intrigues the audience and keeps them riveted to the story, not wanting to put the book down or leave the theatre for a refill of popcorn for fear of missing something huge.

Darth Vader
Darth Vader

Award-winning novelists seem to agree that there are four (sometimes five) key elements to character arc which drives a compelling story arc.

 

4 Key Elements For Character Arc   #WritingTips

 

  1. Need
  2. Yearning
  3. Weakness
  4. Desire

 

  • Your story will usually begin with your main protagonist and their setting. His life lacks something he needs and causes a sense of something unfulfilled.
  • The need may be fuelled by a yearning which he may or may not be aware of.
  • The yearning may come from a backstory that caused them to feel weakened by a loss of love, ability, or perhaps a sense of purpose, and makes them fearful, limited by their circumstances and feeling unable to change. The yearning is most likely to be the opposite of what the protagonist’s life is like now. Identify their yearning in a single sentence and let that drive the story arc, for example, he wants to be free (of something or someone), to find true love, to go home again (or make a home for himself).
  • Something happens to your protagonist that changes their view on their daily life and stirs a desire for change. This is the Inciting Event.

This will all happen in Act 1. After the event that happens to your hero to stir their desire, you’ll be ready to think about your story arc and which scenes belong in Act 2. This took me some time to figure out, but I think I have the most important points now. Remember we’re not writing yet, just outlining. Simple point form or one-sentence sticky notes will do.

 

Creating Intensity Toward The Anticipated Conflict   #WritingTips

 

About a quarter of the way into your novel, the hero will be frantically searching for a reason behind the villain’s antagonism. The hero may not yet realize there’s an underlying cause for the building conflict, or they may have a vague idea but not yet know what’s at stake. The villain may still be taunting the hero to make them give up and turn back.

Before the halfway point of your story, the hero will realize the true nature of the conflict which is imminent and the ultimate power of the villain. Do your notes on story arc build up to your halfway conflict? Include your notes on the hero’s personality and flaws that hold them back, how their mentor tries to persuade them to believe the truth, plot twists, and some fun scenes with their companions for comic relief (The Avengers).

Next time we’ll look at how to generate conflict and why it propels the story.

 

Resources:

Personality Types by Lynne Collier

Star Wars – Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

The Avengers

Writing Fantasy ll Characters 4 –Personality by Lynne Collier

Writing Fantasy ll Premise 2 – Plot Twists by Lynne Collier

 

Till next time, I hope you are blessed.

Lynne

Writing Fantasy || Characters 4 – Personality

How well do you know your characters? Do you know the personalities of these people who live in your head? Have you spent enough time with them to know how they’d feel about what’s going on in their story? Would their reactions to certain events or a flippant statement lead to a fight scene? Would they burst into tears and curl up in a corner?

Personality Types
How would your character react?

 

Know Your Characters Well

Knowing your characters well enough to be able to use their personality traits to your advantage as you write your novel will make the writing flow easier and create logical and organic story arcs.  For example; who is your protagonist likely to befriend? Who may hate your protagonist? What drives your protagonist’s passion? What may drive a particular character crazy? How would your antagonist behave in an argument? As I study the next steps in writing my novel, I realize I can’t answer some of the questions I need to ask to plot my story. The reason being, I don’t know what my character would do in any given situation. So this week I’ll take the time to get to know who these people are and what their responses would be to the events I want in my storyline.

#PersonalityTypes

There are several personality tests online but these three are the best in my opinion. Each one brings a different perspective to a developing character. Take the time to get to know everyone in your story. It’s fascinating and fruitful. Once you know your main characters well you’ll be better able to write an accurate and believable story.

 

Resources:

Myers-Briggs 16 Personality Types my Pinterest board Coaching || Personality Types

Enneagram of Personality  lists Type, Ideal, Fear, Desire and Vice for 9 categories

The Four Temperaments   Choleric, Melancholic, Sanguine and Phlegmatic

If you’d like to dig a little deeper or find your own personality type, you can check out a blog post I wrote for my mini-course, Your Write Voice For His Kingdom.

Once we know our characters’ personalities we can go on to discovering their backstories and why they responded to events in their past based on those personality traits.

Till next time, I hope you are blessed.

Lynne

 

Now Available for Speaking Engagements

I’m the promotional assistant for this young man so I’m very proud of his accomplishments (and also because I’m his mum).

Benjamin T. Collier's Blog

DSC03052_crop_cropFor the past two years I’ve been speaking at schools and public events about my life on the Autism Spectrum and what it was like developing from lower to higher-functioning autism. I’ve found myself in a rare position of being able to communicate and inform teachers and parents about what that experience has been like from an inside perspective. Although it wasn’t until recently that I began advertising my speaking more openly.

So far I’ve spoken on a daytime talk show, at schools, at a church, and at autism-related events.  It’s been a very fulfilling experience to be able to share my experiences and help others to understand the condition.

If you are looking for someone who can talk about autism with inside experience, click on the link Schedule a Speaking Event to look over my information for doing speaking engagements. Or if you know anyone who might be interested…

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