I’ve been thinking about how, in order to write a good story, you have to lay bare your soul.

Currently, I am exploring envy. It’s a difficult topic. I’m writing from both male and female viewpoints, trying to explore envy in different ways. It was my frame of mind years ago, when I  was apt to become envious of another person for one reason or another.

Then, I learned something. Everyone has their own crap to deal with. You might be envious of one aspect of a person’s life, but would you really want to deal with their crap? Would YOU want to deal with MY crap?

Probably not.

That was my cure for envy, a realization that slowly came on over the years. Nowadays, no matter how attractive or talented or successful someone is, I rarely experience envy. Maybe it’s the wisdom of experience.

When I think of the Snow White story, I think of it as a story about envy. The evil queen is envious of any woman deemed more attractive than she. And so, she becomes jealous of Snow White. Her jealousy is a murderous one, so I figure she must have done this before.

But then, I am trying to explore a more constructive envy. An envy that actually makes the envious person strive to become a better person. I like where it’s headed.

All of the stories I’m really happy with are ones that lay bare my soul in one way or another. I’m not writing for therapy, But I have discovered that telling stories involves giving something of yourself to your reader. The stories I love as a reader are ones that really don’t seem to hold anything back. Those are the authors I remember.

But many successful authors don’t seem to do this. I’m reading a series now that I enjoy, but it’s mostly plot driven, with only bits of character development from book to book. They’re fun to read, but I don’t think I could ever write this way. I’ve tried, but although these stories hold my interest as a reader in an “entertain me” kind of way, they don’t hold my interest as a writer. Maybe I just don’t know how to write good plot-driven stories yet. Maybe it will come with practice.

But really, its the character-driven stories that I love, and it is the successful character-driven author that I hope to be like one day. In a non-envious kind of way. 😉