In the wake of the election, I am a different person. I am now afraid of many things, especially what is going to happen given the volatility I see in the world and in my neighborhood. It’s something I’ve never experienced in this country, in what I now realize with mortifying clarity has been a very sheltered life. And listen: I’m old. I remember first-hand the end of the Vietnam years.
I had assumed a very different outcome on November 8th, and what happened upended my worldview overnight. It forced me to look at lots of things in a new light, and look deep into the why behind the actions of others, especially those whose political views are different from mine. This made me think a lot about story, because story is all about how someone’s worldview changes.
And precisely because of that, stories have the power to help bring the country together at this divisive time. Story can help us see each other as we are. Help us empathize, understand and perhaps find common ground.
After all, stories are about how your protagonist’s worldview evolves. They’re about how she overcomes a driving misbelief that has been holding her back, in the face of a problem she can’t avoid.
That’s why your job as a novelist – first and foremost — is to understand why your characters believe they are right, especially when they’re not. [Read more…]