Monday, May 19, 2014

Learning a skill

I don’t think that there’s any point in our lives that we don’t need to learn.  Or that we aren’t learning something.  There’s so much out there that all it really takes is going out and finding out what interests us.  I know that I’m always finding new hobbies, new skills that I want to improve on. 

Recently, I’ve been working on making flowers with buttercream frosting.  I didn’t attach any pictures because I need a lot more practice.  Someday though, I’ll show all of you.

For me, it’s almost natural for my characters to learn as well.  They’re going through experiences that teach them, shape them.  It’s only natural that they pick up a few more skills.  And I love the chance to be able to learn with them.  If it weren’t for some of my characters, I would never have learned anything about stone masonry, home repairs or gardening. 

When I first started sending my stories to beta readers, I received a piece of advice that I’ll never forget.  I was told that if my characters spent any times learning anything, whether it be cooking, sewing, or horseback riding, it had better be a skill that they use in the final conflict. 

I think she only said that because she had to endure two chapters of sewing lessons that never benefitted my character in the end.

Even so, the lesson had been learned.  While outlining for my Yellow WIP, I knew that I wanted my character to learn a skill, some sort of trade.  I couldn’t even decide the final battle until I knew what he was going to learn on his journey.  Once I chose stone masonry, I had to find a situation where he could use the new skill to his advantage. 

Rowell's greatest challenge is building and tearing down walls

Honestly, it’s one of the most exciting climaxes I’ve ever written.

How about the rest of you?  Do you focus on your characters skills and how it would benefit them in the long run?  What skills are you working on yourself?