Hmm. Ariel's hair sparkles, huh? What's with the "coy" hand gestures? And So. Much. Pink! *GAG* Thanks, http://www.fanpop.com.

Idealism:  the cherishing or pursuit of high or noble principles, purposes, goals, etc.* This is probably the reason my mom didn’t want me watching Disney princess movies when I was little and easily influenced. Although, I’m not sure how much it helped, since I grew up to be an idealist author anyway. I think that to be a fiction fantasy writer, you need to have a certain amount of idealist tendencies though.

So where do we get it? Idealism, I mean? One word that has been permeating my generation is “epic,” when something works out perfectly/amazingly. There’s nothing more romantic than a beautifully accomplished proposal, when the weather is balmy and the fireflies come out at just the right time. The only explanation I have found that accurately defines why I cling to idealism is a quote from my hero, C.S. Lewis:

“If we find within ourselves a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

Fantasy gives me the option of creating the world that I long for. But fiction needs to be grounded in reality, even if the cultures, creatures, and land masses aren’t the same. So how do we write reality and restraining our tendencies to write something ideal? Here are some tips to recognizing if you are idealizing your writing:

  1. Does your protagonist ever have minor frustrations? Make them count. She drops her phone and it breaks. He lost his car keys. Make them growl a little. don’t rely entirely on the big problems that make them sit down and weep.
  2. The good guys might win in the end, but they don’t always triumph at every turn. Hey, you can’t always win; why should your characters? Usually it      will strengthen them to see how they respond to defeat.
  3. A pat resolution is an unrealistic resolution. In real life, the main characters may not get married, evil is never completely squashed, and actions have
    consequences.
  4. Watch the boys. It’s way too easy to create perfect heroes. Give them a flaw or two, and they can still be great guys. Just like ones that actually exist.

Do you have any tips for recognizing when you are being sappily idealistic? Let ‘em out!

*Thank goodness for Dictionary.com.  🙂

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