Laura Haley-McNeil

1/21/18, “This is Home!”

 Hello, Everyone!

 We are moving along through January, and I hope that everything is going well with you and that you are finding 2018 to be your best year yet! It may be a little early to determine, but I’m confident it will be. January is a busy month for me because we have so many January birthdays. One of grandnieces was born New Year’s Day, so her birthday is an easy one to remember. And she turned 16 this year. She has her learner’s permit and is looking forward to getting her license. It’s so much more complicated nowadays with the number of hours required and some of those hours have to include driving on a highway and driving at night. I’m wondering if I would’ve received my license, but I’m sure my mother would’ve made sure that I fulfilled all the requirements. More work for Moms! They have to think for everyone! One of my grandnephews turned one this month. He was a little dazed but seemed to enjoy the attention. And he loved the singing. His face lit up like a Christmas tree when he heard the Happy Birthday song. 

When I started writing this blog, I didn’t want to write about writing. I wanted it to be about my thoughts and things that had happened to me. So many writers focus on writing, and sadly I find most of it not helpful for me, though I’m sure it’s helpful for others, but as I continue in my writing career, I come across information that I find invaluable and hope others will, too. I’m a huge fan of Steven Pressfield (The Legend of Bagger Vance, The War of Art). He’s screenwriter which probably explains why he understands writing aspects. Screenwriters know that at a certain point in a screenplay, something has to happen and he translates this well in novel writing. He has a weekly writing blog, so there are some writing blogs I do like to follow and he has written several blogs about the villain and how to make sure you’re writing a good one. Your hero needs a worthy adversary to make your hero remarkable. It’s the cunningness of the villain that brings out the strength in your hero.

One thing Steven Pressfield has written about is the speech: there has to be a speech that praises the villain. The hero or the villain can give this speech. Others could, too, but it’s more significant if this speech comes from these two main characters. The villain has to be very sharp to receive this praise. In romance, this can be complicated because often times the antagonist is the love interest, and in a genre like romantic suspense, the love interest can serve as the antagonist and there can also be a villain.

Today, Steven Pressfield wrote about the speech the hero makes. He gives 2 examples which are from violent films, which I rarely watch. I find nothing more revolting than to see a carpet of dead, bleeding bodies all over the place, but I may have to make an exception. One movie he mentioned is Fury starring Brad Pitt. I realize this actor is nice to look at but I’ve never been fond of him or his movies, but again, I may have to make an exception. Fury is a WWII movie where the Brad Pitt character is determined to confront the SS troops rather than shirk his duty and run for the hills. His troops don’t share his eagerness, but slowly adapt to his mission. He and his troops are sitting inside a tank in the middle of the road and are waiting for the Germans. Brad Pitt’s speech is simple and priceless. He sets a palm on his tank and says. “This is home.”

 This example really struck home with me. This character is determined and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. His troops don’t have to follow him. It’s what he knows in his heart to be correct and true and will defend it to his death. That is the hero I want to read about and write about. That is the determination I want to carry in my heart. This is the determination I want to convey to readers.

 If you are a writer, I hope your writing journey is rewarding, though I know at times it can be very frustrating. We don’t always rise to that level where we can see above the fray of disappointment. There is plenty of disappointment in this field, but you can take heart that in this lonely business, you are not alone. It’s a journey and eventually you’ll reach the next plateau. Sometimes, not as quickly as you want, I never do, but eventually you’ll climb to the next level.

 I hope you have a great week and are enjoying lovely weather in your part of the world, or if you are as I and trying to stay warm, this is a good time to plan that beach vacation!