Apr 3, 2012

Eminem, My Mom and Your Characters.

My mom said, "Mindy, you can do anything you set your mind to." 
Funny thing is, she never told me how to set my mind.
I know how to set my character's minds.
Music.
Theme songs.
Seems like, these days, before anyone sits down to put their words on paper, they’ve created a playlist for their novel. 
And each character has their own theme song.  
I’m no different. 
I’m plotting a new story and one of the first things I did was pay a quick visit to iTunes, YouTube, and Pandora’s shuffle list.  I surfed through songs until just the right one smacked me between the eyes! 

Why do we do this? 
My answer is simple: It gets me into character. 
All the angst and raw emotion that I need to convey from my brain to my fingers seems to be “juiced up” when I start my writing process with my character's theme song. 
Of course, it got me thinking:  If music can get my brain , and countless others, into character mode, how many other writers have picked out a theme song for themselves?  
And I’m not talking the traditional Natasha Bedingfield: UNWRITTEN. 
I’m talking about the, gut wrenching, this is why I write, theme song that fires you up, brings you to tears and makes you look at the empty page of white and say:
 “BRING IT ON, Bitches!!!” 

Fired up, right? 
So why don't we do this for ourselves? 
My theme song comes from the most unlikely place you could imagine. 
Me, Mindy Ruiz, mom to four boys, woman whose curse repertoire is filled with gems like: “Son of a Blanket” and “Ah, spoons!”, found her theme song in Eminem’s: LOSE YOURSELF! 




I have NOTHING in common with this man.
I grew up in a middle class suburb, clay-tile roof over my head, two dysfunctional parents, no baby-daddy.  Yet, in Eminem's words, I find the guttural roar I need every time I sit down and the cursor is flashing: “YOU SUCK, Mindy!” 
I write with the passion that this is my one shot.
I’ve only got one chance to impress my dream agent.
There is only one moment to seize everything I wanted and I’m not going to let it pass through my fingers!   
My trailer, my 'hood', is a nine to five job that sucks my very essence from my soul; steals my time from my husband and children, trading it for dollars that won't mean a thing once my gas tank is filled; and leaves me at the end of the day determined to tell the stories clawing at my insides! 

And isn’t that how each of should be writing?
And how would that passion translate to your characters?
And how do you think that need to produce would resonate with a prospective agent/editor/reader?

Don’t you owe it to yourself to start every moment of writing with the passion that this is that moment.
The one second in time that could change the course of your life. 
Dramatic?
But that's what we're writing!
Drama and believable, fantastic moments that make our readers suspend their reality, for just a few more pages, until those pages end and our readers scream:
I WANT MORE!!!

What's your theme song?
How will it change your day?
How will it change your writing?
What will you say if that one moment, that one opportunity, slips you by and you weren't ready?
For me, it's not an option ... and I guess I have Eminem and my mom to thank.



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