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Friday, October 2, 2009

Five on Friday: Winds of Change


The word itself can evoke many feelings.

My family of three has undergone a significant change recently. Gwynly and I are experiencing our first exposure to the Empty Nest while the Fashion Queen is adjusting to life as a first-year college student. She's been gone nearly two weeks, and some of the initial excitement is wearing off, leaving me a bit lonely.

When clouds loom on my horizon and showers feel near at hand, I reflect on how well our small town gal is doing at her home away from home. She's got a lovely room, complete with posters from some of her favorite movies and musicals.

The FQ's college has the largest number of bikes per capita of any US city. She learned to ride in order to be able to get around on the large campus, and has made great strides in her cycling skills. She's ventured into town on the bus, sung a solo at her dorm's get-acquainted karaoke event, made great new friends and gone to see a prof about a needed course change.

Growth is taking place at every turn, and I couldn't be prouder.

As I've witnessed the Fashion Queen's progress, I've thought about my characters. Like my daughter, they're experiencing significant change. Their stories begin at a time when life as they knew it has shifted dramatically.

I noticed five similarities between my daughter's move to college and the situations that precipitate change for my characters.

1) Leaving one place and moving to another

2) Leaving former friends and making new ones

3) Being separated from one's family or support system

4) Being forced to learn a new skill in order to survive and thrive

5) Being forced to find solutions to problems never before encountered

As I think of my current story, I see that my heroine was dealing with four of the five at the beginning of the story, along with other changes. No wonder the poor woman felt a bit off kilter.

Forcing my characters to deal with change is what makes their stories interesting. Who wants to read about the boring everyday stuff like laundry, dishes and scrubbing the sink? Yawn! I like stories that show me how a person handles the challenges that come his/her way.

I'm off to put my characters through some more tough times and see how they fare. : )

• • • • •

What are some times in life when you've been forced to deal with a major change?

Can you recall a story you've read recently that began with a character facing a major life-changing event? What was it?

What are some items you would add to my "Situations That Precipitate Change" list?


Diane said...

I usually need a once over to like change. I don't like the feeling of being side-swiped. Usually, ultimatley, the change works out for the best. :O)

Anne Barton said...

I'm so happy to hear the Fashion Queen is doing well at college!

Change is tough, but it brings opportunities for growth. At least that's what I tell myself when I'm in a rut!

Your list reminds me a lot of the Hero's 2 Journeys as described by Michael Hauge and Christopher Vogler.

Great post, Keli!

Anne Barton said...

LOL I just noticed your progress bar to the left there. You crack me up. :)

Laura Frantz said...

Bet you're looking forward to those holiday breaks when she's home:) You must be so proud of her - sounds like she's embracing her new life!

Jessica said...

I had to deal with big changes as a kid, not so much anymore though. Thank goodness! LOL
But those are some great parallels and def. something ot keep in mind as I write. Thanks!

And I'm glad she's settling in. You will too. :-)

Keli Gwyn said...

Diane, I like your reminder that things usually work out for the best. When I get to fretting, my hubby reminds me that a majority of the things we worry about never come to pass.

Anne, I know the change is bringing about growth cuz I can feel the growing pains at times. :-)

Laura, Thanksgiving will be very sweet this year since that's the first time our DD will visit us here. I have a hunch Gwynly and I will make a couple trips to see her at college though.

Jessica, I'm glad to hear life's settled down for you. Change can be wearing.