The Importance of a Strong Foundation

Before I start, I want to remind you of where erica and christy build their foundations (reading, writing, living, etc.). Go Wisconsin!!
(look at that cute little tiny icon. but if I enlarge it, it's blurry. so I stuck with cute) 

Faith is not a topic that we talk a lot about here at erica and christy, but it is important to us. No matter your opinion on that, though, I (erica) think the parable I read to my Sunday School kids today was one that can apply to everyone. It was about the importance of having a strong foundation, entitled The House on the Rock. (note, there is a House on the Rock in Spring Green, WI. It is very bizarre. The following picture is not it.)

In the parable, Jesus tells us about the man who built his house on a rock (the word of God) and how it could withstand any storm (problem, etc.). He also tells us of a man who built his house on sand (false ideology), which fell apart as soon as the first storm (sign of trouble) brewed.

So . . . like I said, we're not here to preach faith. But I do think this analogy works for our writing lives - and that of our characters.

First - you and your writing. How solid is your foundation? Do you take care of yourself and your time? Are you able to move forward in your writing life - or are you stuck in analysis/paralysis phase (research, editing, taking the day off, etc. - over and over and over)? Do you feel more like the above picture, or more like this:

(I got this off google images, but couldn't find the original source)

If so, find your foundation, your rock, your belief system. Set small goals. Write a little bit. Then start climbing. You'll find your way - I believe in you.

Now, our characters. There is something I've discovered about my characters during lo, these long months of editing. To prove my character arc, they start out something like this:

And then - wowwie, zowwie - through the magic of my words, they end the story like this:

la, la, la, la, la, la, laaaa, la, la, la, la

Okay, maybe my writing doesn't EXACTLY go that way. But yeah, I get a little carried away in first draft form. Something that will help me clean up those messes a lot faster is thinking about my character's foundation. What do they live for - even in the beginning - that helps them move forward? What part of them stays strong throughout the journey?

Do you guys ever think about the complete backstory (which, of course, can't actually make it into the book. No matter how hard I keep trying...*whistles*)? Do your characters have strong foundations that they are able to stay true to until the end? Or is your story about starting in sand and then climbing out? How do you show that without seeming too weak at the beginning? Any tips?


  1. I def. try and get the main backstory down but often more is revealed as I write. :)

  2. Go Pack! Yesterday's game was awe-some. (And yes, I live in Colorado, but I hate the Broncos, so double squee.) =o)

  3. First...Dawson's picture made me laugh too. Second, yes...I've developed backstory and written several chapters from a different characters POV (just for an exercise) in order to get an idea about what moves my characters. This is good writing.
    Finally, I love the Sunday school teacher peeking out of this post and waving hello. This Sunday school teacher waves back.

  4. A strong foundation applies to everything. And go ahead and preach - I can take it!


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