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Friday, July 10, 2009

Five On Friday: Turning Points

What a wonderful day I've had. Gwynly and I picked up our daughter from U.C. Davis, where she attended her freshman orientation. She had a great time and is already signed up for her classes, which will begin the last week of September.

I'm excited for her. The next few years are likely to be some of her best. She'll learn a great deal in the classroom, true, but she'll also learn about herself and her capabilities.

Watching the Fashion Queen embark on the next chapter of her life reminded me of the journeys my characters take. My stories begin when my hero and heroine reach a major turning point in their lives, one that will forever alter their futures.

Those times in life when we're forced out of our comfort zones and have to adjust to new circumstances often bring about the greatest growth. This is certainly true of my characters.

Who wants to read a work of fiction that merely details day-to-day life? Can you say boring? Readers want to see conflict and challenges. So, we writers do our best to give it to them. That's our job.

Because I'm feeling nostalgic today, I looked back over my life and identified five turning points that have helped mature me and shape me into the person I am today. I'll list them chronologically.

1) Marrying Gwynly - Being half of our partnership has taught me a great deal about compromise and commitment. About love and loyalty. About friendship and fun. I'm a better person for knowing the wonderful man I married.

2) Finishing College - The day I crossed the stage at what was then Cal State Hayward, I couldn't contain my joy. After eleven long years of working and going to school, I finally earned my degree in Mass Communication with the Print Journalism option. So many times I'd been tempted to give up as I struggled to balance my job and my studies, but I persisted. I learned that hard work is rewarded and that discouragement and doubt can be overcome.

3) Living Abroad - A year after Gwynly and I married, we were blessed with the opportunity to spend four and a half years in Germany where he taught U.S. Army dependents at N├╝rnberg American High School. Living abroad away from family, friends and the familiar taught me so much about myself and my capabilities. Although the experience was challenging at times, I discovered inner strength I didn't know I possessed.

4) Having our Daughter - Any of you who are parents know the trepedation and thrill that accompany the news that a little one is to join your family. Like many first-time moms, I felt that mix of emotions. The day our daughter was born was definitely a turning point. Parenting is an on-going education. I've taught the Fashion Queen many things, but I've learned from her as well.

5) Embarking on my Writing Journey - Turning my long-held dream of being a writer into reality took a great deal of courage. With my background as an assistant editor at a small textbook publishing company, I knew many writers want to be published and are vying for limited contracts. However, the joy and personal satisfaction I've experienced are amazing.

There have been highs: my first contest placement, the first request for a full, my Golden Heart finals. There have, however, been disappointing days when I remind myself that publication isn't everything. The wonderful people I'm meeting are a blessing beyond measure. I continue to learn from each of you as you share your lives with me. Thanks for being partners on my journey.

• • • • •

What are some of the turning points your characters have faced?
What are some memorable turning points you've read and enjoyed in others' stories?

What are some turning points in your life, and what have you learned from them?


Jessica said...

I would say I have the same turning points as you in my life (or similar).
The turning points for my characters aren't so clear. This might be a bad thing. LOL I'll have to think about it.

Keli Gwyn said...

Jessica, did you live abroad too? If so, what country was your home away from home?

Of all your turning points so far, which have brought about the most positive personal growth? Which have taught you the most about yourself?

sherrinda said...

Yea! I get to learn a little more about YOU! I love it! I admire anyone who can work and go to school AND finish! I would have to say marriage, having children, growing as a pastor's wife, going back to work, and now writing a book, have all been events that have shaped me for the better. I've learned I'm a strong person than I thought I was and I have more courage now! :) Thanks for sharing.

Keli Gwyn said...

Sherrinda, thanks for sharing your turning points. Marriage and children do bring out aspects of our personalities we might not have realized were there, don't they?

Going back to work after having been out of the work force for a while sounds quite courageous to me. With technology changing daily, I'd feel like a relic from the Dark Ages. And kudos to you for being a pastor's wife. That's a tough job, but one that's a labor of love, I'm sure.

On a more personal level, writing one's first book is an amazing experience. And you've finished yours. I'm sooooo proud of you, Sherrinda.