I never realized that my personality influenced my writing until I had an agent take a look at an early version of The Talking Drum. The agent read it through several times and gave me an in-depth critique. One remark she made stands out from the others. She said that every time my characters came close to having a conflict I would have them retreat and resolve matters quietly. She said it was as if I was afraid to “go there.” At the time I didn’t understand the reason for my fear of conflict in my writing. Then I got married.
Soon it became clear to my husband that I was doing everything in my power to avoid conflict with him, even if the genesis of the conflict was a tiny disagreement, like which restaurant we should choose for dinner. On a regular basis on big and small matters I would defer to him, letting him decide. I was determined to keep the peace.
Then one day he sat me down and said, “Lisa, you have a right to your opinion.” He also said in reference to himself, “It’s a lot of pressure being the smartest person in the room. You’re as smart as me, if not smarter.” Gradually I began to test the waters, expressing my opinions with confidence and engaging in robust discussions and debates with him. On a parallel path I began to loosen the hold I had on my characters, allowing them to experience the conflict that naturally occurred as their stories developed.
As a result, my manuscript began to have more crackle to it, and a better narrative drive, which made it more appealing to potential publishers.
Both journeys—marital and literary—taught me important lessons about my personality and the power it has to both advance my efforts and hinder them.
Latest posts by Lisa Braxton (see all)
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- The World of The Talking Drum: Real Places Versus the Fantasy World - Monday, March 2, 2020