A few years back, (and by ‘a few’ I mean ten long years ago) a couple of girlfriends and I set out to write a novel… no, cookbook… wait, memoir?
Anyway, despite our lack of focused direction, we did have a main premise, and a title. Garageuation.
The title, a word I coined, and the premise centered on the quirky practice unique to our own little corner of the Upper Midwest of holding elaborate high school graduation parties for our kids… in our garages.
For some, this is a simple affair consisting of folding chairs and tables, some balloons and a barbecue. Others have been known to plan for the better part of a year, and hire decorators, and caterers, and even remodel their garages, just for this one express purpose. It all depends on the family, but the one constant however is the garage – which is what intrigued me the most!
I imagined a group of hilarious, loveable, but relatable moms, struggling, failing, trying again, and, because of their deep desire to achieve their version of the perfect Garageuation party, finally winning – while at the same time helping to bring about a bigger change in the world around them.
My two friends however, had different ideas. One envisioned a sort of loose narrative wrapped around recipes that were popular among ‘Garageuation’ planners; the other saw the wisdom and traditions that were handed down printed as quotes, on pictures in sort of a flip book calendar.
It was a brilliant idea – still is, I think. But out of the three of us, I was the only one who wanted to be a writer, thus the only one who wanted this to become a novel with novel things like plot, and conflict and characters. The other two gave up on the project, but bequeathed to me the notes, and ideas we had come up with. So now, this, for me, is what you hear writers talk about – “the book inside me, dying to get out.”
All of that is backstory however. Which leads me to what is hinted at in the title of this post – unleashing my storytelling superpower.
I’m reading a book, which has a corresponding Facebook group called DIY MFA – a do-it-yourself approach to what is contained in a Master of Fine Arts degree. In the book, the author, Gabriella Pereira, provides lessons, readings, insights, and assignments all aimed toward the reader/budding author taking the steps toward writing and publishing a completed project.
My last two blog posts have been a result of the assignments, this one is too. For this post, I took a quiz (here’s a link so you can take it too) that is aimed at revealing what kind of characters you tend to write, and what kind of story you’d have them tell. I’ve never actually published anything, so I was doubting this quiz would tell me much. As usual, I underestimated – mostly myself, but also, I underestimated the magical power that writing has to bring things out!
I had mostly forgotten about my Garageuation story, until I started reading and writing about the description of what this quiz told me my storytelling superpower was… and KAPOW!!
I am an Underdog storyteller. Which means I tell stories about underdogs. My superpower is creating relate-able characters who have a deep desire to change something in themselves, or in the world around them. I craft stories with high-stakes and compelling characters that readers can’t help but love.
As I read the outline, one by one, my Garageuation characters started popping into my head waving frantically, as if to say “Hey dummy, we’ve been languishing here ever since you thought us up ten years ago! Would you get on with writing our story already?! We’re dying to get out!”
…and so it begins…