Tempting, isn’t it?

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Growing up I always associated Lent with sacrifice.  My Catholic friends would give up red meat – their parents always took us to the gross Long John Silvers on Fridays instead of McDonald’s or Burger King like we really wanted – and our Sunday school teachers would ask, “What are you giving up this Lent season to remember how Christ suffered in the desert?”  (We didn’t always have the best Sunday school teachers, but you get the point.)

But this year, the more I thought about Lent, the more I thought about temptation rather than sacrifice.  I’m not talking about the obvious temptations – a shiny new car or that hot guy across the mall – I’m talking about the daily temptations that find their ways into my everyday life.

How often have I snuck one of the kids’ Valentine’s Day candies when I knew I shouldn’t?  How many times have I ordered take out because I didn’t want to cook, even though money was tight? How many times have my kids ask me to help with something just to have me respond with a ‘not now’ even though I know these years won’t last forever?

These are the temptations that I want to focus on this year.  Where in my daily life can I make decisions that I SHOULD do instead of what I WANT to do? 

Of course, I’m still giving up chocolate for the next forty days, but that just makes the kids’ Easter candy that much better;)  Oh – slipped already…

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About Megan Powell

Coffee loving, boo-boo kissing, mom and fan-girl who also happens to be the author of Urban Fantasy novels, NO PEACE FOR THE DAMNED and its sequel, NO LOVE FOR THE WICKED. Check out my upcoming releases at http://www.meganpowellbooks.com.

4 responses »

  1. Hey Megan this is Justin from the MWW last summer. I found your blog through facebook and just wanted to mention…

    you had written a few days/weeks back about how you were bored with your story, that you knew all the twists and turns in it and there wasn’t any enjoyment in it, something along those lines. i get the impression then that you have mapped out your story before you began writing it, and i wanted to suggest going about your writing a different way. a lot of writers teach (and my experience in workshop has been consistently thus) that writing should be an experiment, that the best way to begin a story is at the beginning, and to let the story take YOU where it wants. all writers work differently obviously, but there’s definitely something to be said for NOt planning a story out, and letting it evolve on its own.

    for one thing, some stories that are too planned ultimately feel to self-conscious and loaded in their buildups. When we know how a story ends, we might be tempted to force everything we write to lead up to that one final scene, or that twist. now uniformity has its merits, but sometimes in pushing towards a goal we really end up killing any movement the reader might feel.

    the other thing (and i don’t know anything about the story you’re writing, so take this or leave it) you might consider is that the elements of the story you have at this point just aren’t enough to maintain a good, quality read. sometimes i find myself bored with a story because i’ve just worked through it too many times, but sometimes i’m bored because the story just isn’t really that great, and it doesn’t hold up after that initial enjoyment or spark that i got from it. that’s definitely something to consider when thinking about your own stuff. is it boring just because you have been working so hard on it? or is it boring because there isn’t quite enough there to keep you coming back? i’m not sure how high you’re setting your standards, but to me, the thing about good literature is that it can be returned to over and over, even after things have been figured out, and it still maintains its worth…

    so i definitely urge you to be open to new possibilities with your story, and alternative arcs and narratives within the framework you already have.

    there’s this anecdote about an author who was struggling with a story. in the story the character is driving from point a to point b, and obviously the easiest way to get there is a straight line. direct, to the point, and uniform. but the story just wasn’t working. so, after working with it a long time, it suddenly dawned on the author that there was so much fuel for the fire in that drive. what does the character drive by? what does he see? and, uh-oh, does he stop somewhere?! think about the possibilities for character development, introducing new narratives and complications to the original story, and even adding suspense and mystery. does the character ever make it to point b?

    think about this when you’re approaching your own writing. it’s always nice (and trust me, it’s my first instinct) to know where the story is going, but there’s a lot of potential for real magic to happen when we let the story go where it wants to go, when we let characters say what they want to say. Even if we want them to go to point B, sometimes it’s better in the end if they take their time, or maybe never get there at all.

    so, to sum up this lengthy post, if you haven’t given change a chance, i really suggest it.

    • Justin, you are awesome! Thanks for all the encouragement and for the suggestions on how to change direction. This round of revisions has me adding a couple new chapters and it has been perfect for jumping my excitement level. And you’re right – just changing a little in a character’s voice has taken some of the scenes in a totally new direction. It has me all giddy again!

      Thanks again for making contact and for the helpful words. Any chance you’ll be back at MWW this year?

  2. Meg: I always think of my dear Catholic friend Mary Ann who doesn’t give up anything for lent. Instead she pledges to do more for people during those 40 days. She does not eat meat on Friday but she makes the best meatless dinners. And some years, like when her mother died, she didn’t do anything. She felt like she had sacrificed enough that year. I can totally agree.

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