Sometimes I feel guilty… when I chat with friends. Because I can talk about my childhood like it’s the most magical thing ever. I really did grow up inside a fairytale—where anything/everything was possible. I totally believed in unearthly creatures and supernatural powers and the… impossible. I’m not sure if it was something my parents did, or if it was just who we were as kids, but all five of us children experienced this magic—particularly my sister and me.
And this is why I want to write.
I’m trying to tap into what made my childhood so special. To create that magic on the page—because I haven’t been able to *really* find it since I was young. But there still is a bit of that essence left—my sister.
My sister is the one person from my childhood who just “gets it” … she understands what I’m trying to capture and how I feel when I look back on life. We both approach life in a similar way, how we analyze things, how our minds work, and where our feelings stem from. And I think a lot of it has to do with dance. Ballet.
There’s such magic in this art—and it really has connected us forever.
It’s also what has inspired my latest project.
My sister and I grew up in the dance world—hours and hours a day dedicated to the art. There are 4 ½ years between us, so we were never competitors, but if we had been closer in age, we would’ve been! I stopped dancing and was teaching ballet full time when she really took off. At age fifteen, she was the only person in the state of Utah to be accepted to the School of American Ballet. (Which is a big deal in ballet world) It was a dream to fly out to New York with her and drop her off—to see the facilities and the studios… little did I know ten years later I would be drawing off this experience for my writing.
I think the reason why my latest WIP has clicked is because I’ve tapped into something I’m passionate about. It isn’t just a story—it’s my world, my life. And I think that when a writer feels something so deeply, the truth can’t help but spring from the page. Readers are smart, and they know when they’re being lied to—it’s why we, as writers, need to fully immerse ourselves into our work—into the worlds we’re creating, so it feels authentic past the page.
Same idea with characters. Not only have I drawn on real personal experiences for the world I’m trying to create, but I’ve based my MC off of my sister. Not only in name and looks, but in her essence—trying to capture who she is.
I know there’s an argument about whether or not to write what you know, but I do think that whatever you write, it’s got to be so real to you, that it can’t help but ring truth from the page.
I want to leave with a quote from my sister. When I asked her what it was that made dance so magical, she said, “I feel beautiful and different when I dance… like I *am* different. I feel special and graceful like no one else. I love giving that pull or energy to the audience… giving all of me that I possibly can.”
I love this. And I think this is what we writers are trying to do. Transport readers to a place where they feel different. Special. And I know that we are giving as much of ourselves that we possibly can. Because if we’re not, it just isn’t good enough.
Do you have people in your life who inspire your work? Who carry that magic you’re trying to portray? And is your WIP a world that you know well? Or is it a new world that you’re trying to discover?
Red. Head. Out.