Couldn’t let the day pass without at least a mention of the movie. As I write this, I don’t know if Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow. And I for sure don’t know if we have more or less winter on the way, but I do know that the underlying story of Groundhog Day (the movie) is passion. As luck would have it, passion is Mysteristas’ theme for the month. Bill Murray is blah, bland, and resentful that he’s stuck in PA covering a nothing story. Covering a nothing story. Covering a nothing story. Covering a…. Until he discovers what he is doing has importance, that it allows him to make a difference to the people around him, and once he becomes passionate about what he is doing, he sets himself free to follow his dreams and the spell is broken.
Dreams and passion, the stuff of mysteries and romances. The stuff of writers. Most writers discover their passion for the written word at a young age. Then, instead of respecting it, they bury it under the guise of reasonableness and the very real need to make a living. But here’s the thing about passion. You can’t hide from it. It’s always there, poking and prodding. Running over and over in some dark corner of your brain like…well like February 2nd in Groundhog Day. Finally, in desperation to free yourself from the tyranny of needing something more—and to shut that endless loop of a whisper up–you give in, and follow your passion. It’s still not an easy path, but it becomes something as necessary to you as breathing.
Finding your passion is only half the battle. If you’re a writer…wait until your character finds his passion. When that happens, it’s look out howdy time. This person that you created and molded into exactly who and what you wanted suddenly turns on you. They’re in charge, and worse, they know it. The character dictates the story in your ear, and you had better listen. The shift in power takes some getting used to, and about fifty or so pages that you will eventually rip up and toss out in desperation. When, you wonder, did you lose control? How did this happen? Are you even sane? Then you read the words, and the scenes jump off the page. Your story is alive. There’s richness and depth. An honesty that only passion can bring to the page. When passion marries passion, the result is explosive.
What about you writers, are your characters collaborators? Readers, can you tell when a story’s characters come to life? Does it make a difference? Can you feel the passion on the page?