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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Write with Impact Definition: Courage/Comfort

Mythic Impact

As writers we are all familiar with the hero’s journey, whether we choose to use that concept in our novels or not. And sometimes the criteria for what we first consider to be heroic characteristics can be multi-layered and even opposite.

One of the most interesting assignments I gave my college students was an essay assignment where they compared and contrasted definitions and interpretations re heroes and celebrities and everyday people. An article on Rosa Parks stated, “Perhaps the most interesting thing about her was how ordinary she was.” Almost every essay submitted included this quote.

And almost every essay came down to an opinion that courage defined a hero. The courage to act in a difficult situation that might be considered life threatening, as well as the sheer courageous action of a parent getting up every morning and taking care of the family. Most defined courage as commitment in action.

That perception of courage also became a comfort, because these young college students recognized that, while celebrities might rise and fall, commitment was a choice open to everyone—every day. And that often the courage may go ignored or unappreciated yet the ‘hero’ persevered regardless. It gave others hope to face their difficult circumstances.

Some stories require the celebrated hero, but for impact the core commitment needs to be grounded in everyday reality. There is a trust that this hero would be just as faithful day in and day out. Impact recognizes the courage of an extremely shy character speaking up in a public meeting, or an energetic rather loud extravert sitting quietly so as not to frighten a young child.

Our stories can resonate more deeply when we recognize and sustain the heart courage in action of our characters, especially the ordinary ones.

Share: What attributes define your heroes?

Read deep, marcy

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