I 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?