Bet that title got your attention, right? In this case, F’n refers to the fact that all 3 lessons start with the letter ‘F’. Additionally, they are all from fiction. I’ve written blog posts about taking my aikido lessons off the mats. Now, I’m taking my writing lessons off the paper so to speak.
BTW, it is Monday the 13th so this post feels particularly timely to me. Let’s get right to those lessons!
3 F’n Life Lessons
3. Friends/ Family
Did you know writers are advised to write characters with flaws who fail? It’s part of the hero’s journey which allows them to grow and eventually triumph. Along the same lines, most readers/ viewers loathe Mary Sue characters. You know those annoyingly perfect characters, right? Apparently, perfection does not work for us. Flaws and failures are admired and appreciated in fiction.
What about friends/ family? To add another F, ‘found family’ is one of my favorite tropes. Some of my favorite stories include a group of misfits coming together and then becoming a family. They don’t always get along and they do mess up (see Nos. 1 and 2 above). However, they work things out, and to quote Supernatural, “family don’t end in blood”.
Take a moment and think of your favorite characters in books/ movies/ shows. They may be a time traveler, superhero, detective, space cowboy, teacher, monster hunter, or someone else entirely. Regardless, picture at least one character you love.
Has your favorite character ever messed up?
Do you get annoyed when they make bad decisions (sometimes over and over again)?
Does your favorite character sometimes disagree/ fight with those closest to them?
Have they ever taken a walk on the dark side?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then your favorite character is a perfectly flawed human who has failed. If you picked a Supernatural character, chances are you answered yes to all of the questions.
Now, do you still love that character??
If you answered yes, take that F’n Lesson and apply it to your life!
It’s okay if you’ve failed at something. You’ve probably also made at least one questionable decision in your life. Perhaps you’ve even had a falling out with people who love and support you. You too are probably a perfectly flawed human who has failed.
That doesn’t mean you don’t deserve love or a second chance. You do!
As a writer, I often think ‘what would [insert main character name] do?’ That question helps to inspire me to do my best even when I don’t feel like it. It’s not always easy to take the high road or do what is right. Just like fictional characters, we often stumble as we make these choices too.
Just as you still love & cheer for your favorite characters, love & cheer for yourself.
Just as you still love & cheer for your favorite characters, love & cheer for your family/friends.
Whenever you struggle, try my trick and ask what your favorite character would do. Of course, we can use that question and still make a bad choice because the characters do too. Let’s ask this again – do you still love your favorite character even when they fail?
Did you know there are tags in fanfiction for character ‘whump’? This is defined as taking a character and putting them through physical and/or mental torment and is typically followed by the same character being treated for their traumas. Apparently, we really like to see those characters struggle time and time again. It’s particularly powerful when the character is trying to correct a mistake, pay for their stupidity, or just generally make things right. We may want them to suffer, but we also want them to succeed. Most of us want them healthy and happy by the end of the story (or at least the chapter or book). Fanfiction also often notes ‘happy ending’ to assure us all will be well.
We can’t get those warnings in our real lives which is all the more reason to remember that we love our favorite characters even when they are flawed and fail. Remember that and apply that f’n lesson in your life!
Cut yourself and others some slack…but always keep trying to improve and make things better. Treat your trauma and keep looking for your happy ending. Our favorite characters deserve to embrace their development and so do you.
Another writing lesson: every character thinks they are the main character/ hero and we’re advised to write them that way.
You are the main character in your life story. Act like it and be the hero. Own up to your flaws and embrace your failures so you can learn from them. If someone was reading your story, wouldn’t you want them to cheer for you even in the darkest of times because you are trying?
We must also remember that our family and friends are the main characters in their lives too. Their choices will reflect this as we aren’t at the center of their lives (even if we are loved). We must all respect that others have a choice just as we do.
To steal a final writing lesson: you can yell ‘plot twist’ and make a surprising choice that changes your story at any time. Those twists are sometimes the best part of a story and take things in an entirely new direction. It can be annoying and scary when our characters make big changes and the same can be said about our lives. The devil we know and all that. It is your story though so that choice is yours.
What are you (as the hero in your story) going to do today?
How have you failed this week?
Have you talked to your family/ friends today?
Feel free to comment and share your experiences here! I’ve added a few links to share a few more of my experiences too. I can’t promise all will have Supernatural memes, but I do enjoy using them often!
Happy reading and writing, my friends!
Shameless self-promo: If you want to see a group of misfits band together despite arguments and failures, do give my Rahki Chronicles a try with THIS LINK! It’s a contemporary fantasy road trip which won’t cost you an arm and a leg in gas money!