Girl Power!

November 12, 2007 at 8:36 am | Posted in heroines, Jessica, life, movies, writing | 1 Comment

My HALO friend once asked me what it was that I wanted out of life and on that same day Publishers Marketplace announced the latest deal news for Susan Elizabeth Phillips. (The news was a whopper!) And I said to myself, Ah! What better way could I explain my lofty hopes and goals than to use SEP as my ideal example?!

But the more time I’ve had to think about it, the more I have kind of morphed my perfect ideal to where it’s a mash-up of two fan-worthy women — my ideal would be to become equal parts SEP and equal parts Nancy Meyers.

Nancy Meyers directed the movie, What Women Want, and is the screenwriter and director for movies such as Something’s Gotta’ Give, and The Holiday (among others).

I just love the stories that both of these women tell. And there’s a line in the movie The Holiday that prompted me to write this post on this week’s topic, heroines.

In the movie, Kate Winslet plays this unlucky-in-love woman named Iris and so as not to spoil the story for those of you who haven’t seen it (I won’t mention any names – ahem- Bria) I won’t divulge too much information other than to say that Iris doesn’t know just how much of a gift she is and it’s not until a mentor character accuses her of being a supporting character in her own life that she starts to work to come into her own.

I loved that analogy.

That phrase has become kind of a timely mantra for me, whether I use it to think about the heroines in my WIPs or, more recently, in relation to the entry I posted last week on motivation.

While the WIPs can be tough cases to crack, there are at least tools at our disposal to help identify the starring roles that our heroines can play.

Tami Cowden has a number of great resources, as found in the Heroine Archetypes section of her web site and in her book, The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines. If you get stuck in this aspect of your writing, consider this craft book a must-have.

Don’t forget the Classical Heroines from Mythology, and while reading over the content on this web site, the following phrase caught my eye:

Being skilled with the weapon is not the only requirement to being a brave heroine. Some of these are women who show great courage, through ability to survive great hardship, make great sacrifice or face death unflinching as any male hero.
Timeless Myths

When I read this phrase, I can’t help but think that these words apply to all of us women – the words themselves are timeless. While we may not be out there fighting the physical clash one would normally associate with battle (as our brave women in uniform do), we do endure other untold battles of our own. And when put in the context of writing, these words take on a new level of meaning . . . at least for me.

I can see where our weapons are our words and voices. To write a book takes courage, but to share something so personal with the hopes of shoe-horning it into the publishig machine takes a set of brass body parts. To complete such a project often takes great sacrifice and the ups and downs of the business can create as much hardship as they do joy.

And that’s one of the reasons why I so admire Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Nancy Meyers. These women have figured it out and have made it work for them. In relation to my entry I posted last week on motivation, I think the base of my frustration is that I haven’t yet figured out what it is for myself.

But it’s been funny – the odd kind – how over this past week I have started feeling better about the prospect of things. Maybe it’s because I’ve been working like a fool on my NaNo pages each day. Maybe it’s because I got some brutal and unexpected closure on a painful issue I hadn’t realized I’d left open. Maybe I have started coming into my own and am now looking for my starring role. Maybe I am taking steps in the right direction and am closer than ever to realizing what it is.

All I know is that I think of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Nancy Meyers as heroines because they have worked so hard and been so successful in creating their own starring roles. And I want to be just like them.

It only takes, on average, ten years to be an overnight success and every step in the right direction counts. (Getting Unstuck)

So whether it be in your writing or in your real life, get your girl power on this week!

-Jessica

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1 Comment »

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  1. Jessica, always remember, YOU ARE MY HERO(INE)! –Meg


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