Where are They Now?

Leaves: Three Short TalesI haven’t been talking much about my writing recently. I have been scribbling away however and most recently at the trilogy of short stories I’m putting together under the title Leaves.

I’d thought the trilogy complete, then that the stories needed tweaking, then more in-depth editing. I usually find myself at this stage reduced to pushing words around. It’s a pattern of behaviour that’s ended up with a filing cabinet full of works-in-progress. Except that they aren’t.  More like works-in-aspic.

After an Aha! moment about a week ago, I realised that what I’ve really got in that filing cabinet are works-in-embryo. I flicked through a few. In each case was the identical problem. I hadn’t yet found the story I was supposed to be writing.

I hadn’t looked at my Leaves trilogy for some time. Out-of-the-blue I found myself thinking about it and specifically, Adam and Evelyn. Or rather, the story came to me to tell me it was time I finished it and more, how to bring that about.

The origins of inspiration are mysterious.

The message was that I needed to figure out what archetypal character each of mine represented.  After some research on archetypes, I had it. My two main characters are each on a journey. They both know they are on a journey. One of them believes he is on one journey and it turns out he is on another. The other is fully conscious of the journey she is on. Each has his agenda and these intertwine.

What archetypal character goes on journeys? I found the following – non-exhaustive – list of archetypes, compiled by Jung, the most useful in the case of my characters.

  • The Father: authority figure; stern; powerful.
  • The Mother: nurturing; comforting.
  • The Child: longing for innocence; rebirth; salvation.
  • The wise old man: guidance; knowledge; wisdom.
  • The hero: champion; defender; rescuer.
  • The maiden: innocence; desire; purity.
  • The trickster: deceiver; liar; trouble-maker.

I identified at once that one of my main characters is The wise old man (or in this instance – woman); the other is The hero.

Then, to my entire surprise, I’ve found a third main character in my tale. Surreptitious and insinuating, invisible and furtive, he is woven throughout. He is The Trickster.

“Get on and finish it, it’ll be Christmas soon!” insisted my Nudge of Inspiration.
“What’s Christmas to do with it, for heaven’s sake?”
I retorted, exasperated.
“You find out as you write the story,” responded Nudgie.

And I did and when I did, I laughed out loud.

Oh, I’ve changed the working title of my story. Instead of Adam and Evelyn, it’s Where are They Now?


Useful References:

About AnnIsikArts

Artist/Writer/Chess Enthusiast/Musician (Singer)/Gardener
This entry was posted in Character Development, Creativity, Editing & Proofreading, Inspiration, Short Story Writing, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Where are They Now?

  1. Bumba says:

    ALL of the archetypal Heroes went on journeys. Isis to Moses to Mohammed, Noah, Jacob, the Buddha to Odysseus.

    Liked by 1 person

    • AnnIsikArts says:

      You’ve made me think. All fictional characters are on journeys. That’s how there’s a story to tell in the first place. Or maybe I should say, all the story’s major characters. They aren’t necessarily ‘Heroes’ with a capital ‘H’. Maybe some become Heroes. In my story, the main ‘hero’ is not a ‘Hero’, if you see what I mean. And of course, there are fiction stories wherein there are no heroes. The first of those was, I believe, Thackeray’s ‘Vanity Fair’. Can you add anything to this?


      • Bumba says:

        I was saying that you’re on to something. Joseph Campbell outlines the hero’s journey, the return from the journey and the trials as a changed person, on a higher level and then she/he act heroicly. Jean Valjean. So assigning mythological templates is a terrific idea.


      • AnnIsikArts says:

        Campbell’s ‘Hero with a Thousand Faces’ is on my reading list. I’m currently reading ’45 Major Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters’ by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. I think I have an Isis character already half-baked! I’ve had the books for ages but until you have a character of your own to ‘sort out’ the ideas are purely academic. At least, that’s how it’s worked out for me.

        Thanks for paying so much attention to my blog, Bumba. You’re a gem!

        Liked by 1 person

      • AnnIsikArts says:

        Hi Bumba. I know I’ve already replied to yur kind comment, but I’m writing again to ask if you would pray or do whatever you think best for a friend of mine who is gravely ill? She’s called Steph. Thanks a lot. Ann


  2. Hi Ann. Wonderful post! Just as I’m trying to write longer fiction as well. Just finished a 1000+ word tale today, so this is really useful. I have a problem though with the archetypes and I’ll be honest I see them as stereotypes of the mother and father figures with their (patriarchal) roles assigned ready-made and prepackaged so to speak. I’m wading my way through a free online course through the following: https://novoed.com/how-writers-write-fiction-2016

    Liked by 1 person

    • AnnIsikArts says:

      Hi Petru. I had a look at your site earlier today. Hope you’ve sorted out the trapped nerves. I know what you mean about the archetype. The word isn’t synonymous with stereotype or ‘stock’ character. It’s that bad writing makes it seem like that. I couldn’t write a story by picking ‘archetypes’ in advance. The ‘hero’ of my story is in fact a woman and also the wise old man/woman archetype. She’s also more than fully flawed. I never know, as I write, what the story is about beyond the initial spark. Sometimes I’m given more than a spark. It is an adventure first for me. A ‘mother’ role could validly be given to a man when it’s about ‘nurturing’. Well done on your long fiction tale. I’ll take a look at the link you provided.

      Liked by 1 person

      • After I switched off, already in bed I thought about my comment and arrived at what you said. Of course you’re right. I’m too easily on my high horse about this role-playing so conveniently created. The trapped nerves are still there, I now do exercises while I sit in my chair which relieves it. It’s the first time I’ve been able to write more than flash fiction. I somehow need a course of some sort to get me through a barrier.

        Liked by 1 person

      • AnnIsikArts says:

        I think we are both ‘seat-of-the-pants’ writers. I’ve tried writing the other way – planning it all out – I felt crippled, deaf, dumb, blind and subsequently very disconnected from the source of my writing (without wishing to sound grandiose).

        You are also talking of seats. Glad to know you are finding ways of using your seat to release the pain. When I’m really concentrating I forget I have a body and suddenly I’ll realise I’m in pain, cold or hungry or thirsty. Hours have passed. I daren’t put anything in the oven or on the stove and go away and write. Tonight I burnt the bottom of a pan black. I also found a pair of socks in the fridge.
        I must hobble off to bed now. It’s late here. Take care. Keep moving. 🙂


      • Very funny! ‘socks in the fridge’ indeed! Wonderful! Glad I’m not alone – I’ve so far not told people about my lapses in case I get classified as dotty.

        Liked by 1 person

      • AnnIsikArts says:

        In my defence, they were hidden away in a bag with some potatoes. That’s not much of a defence, is it? 😦


      • It’s a defence. Definitely.

        Liked by 1 person

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