Falling is not anyone’s favorite activity. It hurts. I did it today, and banged myself up good. But over the last year, metaphorically, I’ve been falling. Long-held dreams fell through. Ideas of success have also fallen on their collective face. So, now I’ve done the actual act, too. Ouch.
So, what does falling have to do with writing? Lots, actually. When we fall, perspective changes. Drastically. It’s easy to look down at people and ideas when we feel naturally superior by virtue of our position. As you plummet to the hard, unforgiving ground, you feel yourself wildly out of control and unable to do more than hope the landing is one you can walk away from.
And then there’s getting up. Will someone offer you a hand? Will you have to ask for one? Or grit your teeth against the pain and get up on your own? Maybe you can cling to some handholds on the way up. What if there are none? And as you rise slowly, painfully to your feet, will someone decide to shove you back down?
So it goes with writing. Good authors shove their characters around, creating conflict. Knock that protagonist down. Oh, he’s getting up? Do it again. Can he come back for more? Who does he think he is, anyway? Will another character help him up? Or will they knock his face into the dirt?