Thursday’s Children March 28, 2013

Inspired by Cheerleaders…sort of

A weekly blog hop where writers share their inspirations. Please join us!

A weekly blog hop where writers share their inspirations. Please join us!

“Leave It All On The Mat”

That was the first Facebook post I saw Sunday morning. One of my daughters belongs to an All-Star Cheering team and they had a competition later in the day. For those who have no idea what All-Star Cheering means, stick around. Five or so years ago, I had no idea either. I thought cheerleaders cheered for boys’ high school sports teams and that cheerleading was the domain of pretty, popular girls who could do cartwheels.

Times have changed.

Cheering is its own sport and has the dubious distinction of causing the most visits to the ER among school- age athletes, because the one thing that hasn’t changed are the skimpy uniforms. No helmet, no pads. Concussions are par for the course – not just for the flyers (the girls who get thrown up into the air) but also the bases (the team members who do the throwing and catching). Tumbling runs and stunts become more dangerous the higher the level. There are boys on teams. And non-skinny girls. And huge national competitions with really loud music. They’re all aspiring to be as good as this…

That was entertaining, right? But now you’re asking yourself what front tucks and scorpions and basket tosses have to do with writing. Well, maybe not in exactly those terms…

Writers must leave it all on the page.

Don’t end your ms feeling like you played it safe. If you hold nothing back, then you won’t be wondering what you could have or might have done. Put it all out there. Give it all you’ve got.

This is something I’m struggling with at the moment. The boy MC in my new WIP has a disturbing backstory. I wasn’t aware of this until I started writing about him. And the girl MC, well, she’s not the person I thought she would be either. She’s quite a bit more dysfunctional. I’m not sure this boy and girl are right for each other, or that their relationship can heal them. Their story might not be marketable. But, now that I know who they are, I’m fascinated. I can’t rethink their story into safer territory. At least not in the first draft.

Do your characters ever take you by surprise? What do you do about it? Do you give them free rein and let them tell you their stories, or do you make them tell the story you intended?

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