Last year at my NaNo chapter, the theme was Green Lantern. I, being an X-Men girl, was totally clueless. WTH? What is a Green Lantern and why would I want to be one? I've probably already turned people off by even bringing up
I'm not doing it. Oh, ha ha ha, what a good laugh. Back to the point. Why are we (writers) like Green Lanterns? GL is not my thang. I'm still an X-Men girl, but I sat down last night to watch the new GL movie, prepared to be amazed by the goofiness of it (I will debate you all day about why the X-Men are cooler, minus the last movie that came out, because I can tear that one apart in a paragraph). I only watched it because A) it was free and B) it has Ryan Reynolds, so you know it's going to be funny at the very least. Yes, I'd seen it at the cheapy theater and thought it was okay (do I need to mention it's no X-men?)
I don't know about you, but I'm not putting on a green spandex body suit any time soon. Oh, the horror. But I think we can still take a lesson away from GL, provided they didn't copyright the lessons (and they'll let us wear baggy green shirts and blue jeans). Let's discuss the things I learned from watching a movie.
#1) To be a GL, you have to be fearless.
To be a writer, you have to be fearless. Actually, you don't have to be fearless. You just have to be able to overcome your fear. From the moment you make up your mind to sit down in front of a computer or notepad, ideas whirling around in the giant universe that is your imagination, you must chuck aside your sensitivity and be unafraid. Unafraid of learning new things like formats, grammar, genres, exposing your writing to others, anything that has to do with writing. I'm going to tout the critique partner/writing group things too--let other people read your work and read others' work as well, because that's how you learn. When you've learned and conquered your fears, you may be ready to submit to agents or publishers. Don't be afraid to hit 'send' because it's the only way to stomp out fear.
#2) You have to be willing to defend your planet.
You have to be willing to defend your work--but don't forget that you're going to have to bend to the rules too. Your work isn't perfect (well, maybe it is, mine certainly isn't). There's always room for improvement and you have build your writer muscles and stretch until the work is as close to perfect as it will get. Then, when you get slapped in the face by rejection (see #1), you may come to realize that that agent/editor wasn't right for you. Revise if necessary, repeat the last part of #1.
#3) You have the power of will at your... well, willpower.
Do you know what a great thing that is? Of course you do. That's what you shape worlds out of. That's what you build characters from. That's how you write 'THE END' when you reach your word count goal. Anything you can think of and any way you want to describe it can become a world for someone else on paper (or electronically as the case may be). When you say, "I can't" to those long, horrible edits, that's a lie that fear tells you. Because you can! When you say, "I can't finish this book" that's fear telling you what a loser you are for trying. But you can! When you've been slapped in the face by a rejection (or a hundred rejections) and you say, "I can't do this anymore", you can. Because if you can't, you might as well pack it in now and spend the rest of your life wondering, what might have happened if I did?
#4) Fear will destroy you. If you let it.
|Hey, you look familiar.|
Pretty sure you were
living in my head.
#5) Good always wins.
I didn't learn this from GL. I learned it from almost every movie I've ever watched. Every book I've ever read. Every person just like me who ever won. I learned it from my writing friends who are, or at some point were, where I am. I learned it from my family, who still love me at the end of the day even when I'm totally whacked out with frustration. I learned it from my characters, who beat impossible odds. Good always wins, but it might take some time to get there.
I'm a Green Lantern. And so are you.