Jenniffer's previously shared her most embarrassing fictional crush, and discussed the challenges of writing traditional heroes compared with often more interesting sidekicks, but somehow, I've never asked her my favorite question of all.
Time to fix that!
So, Jenniffer, what scares you, and how does it influence your writing?
Navigating Life Like A Writer
By Jenniffer Wardell
I mostly hide it in my day-to-day life, but nearly every second of my life there is something I'm either 1) panicking over, 2) pretending isn't happening (because the thought of it makes me panic) or 3) preparing for meticulously in the desperate hope that I can plan for every contingency, and thereby somehow create a magical (and so far theoretical) situation where I don't have to stress about something. This is, add you might imagine, extremely tiring.
Even fiction can make me anxious, so invested in the stresses the characters are going through that I feel like I'm going through them myself. I'm one of those reprehensible souls that check the endings of books before I start reading, because I can't deal with falling in love with a character just to see them die. I know the uncertainty is supposed to be exciting, but I mostly just find it stressful.
On the surface, writing seems like the perfect solution to someone who wishes they could control everything. But the reality is that there's only so much you can control, even in fiction, because if you've written them right a character will insist on doing certain things whether you want them to our not. You can arrange a situation so they only get certain choices, but if they're determined to make things harder for themselves there's not much you can do to stop them. If you try, the story falls flat.
But somehow, watching my characters trip their way into one disaster after another has brought me a deeper comfort than the fantasy of control ever could have provided. Their lives are harder than mine could ever be, often with their own lives or the lives of others on the line. At the very least, they're left to deal with Major Peril (TM) while the most I ever run into world probably fall somewhere in the vicinity of Mild Disaster (TM).
Even better, they're no more competent then I am. Fairy tales are traditionally full of noble, wise heroes, the line of person that we all aspire to be. I, however, write fairy tales for the person I am, which is someone who means well but is really kind of a wreck. Generally, we never get to be heroes.
But somehow, novel after novel, I watch my characters survive whatever I throw at them. No, more than that - they actually save the day, stepping up to the plate and facing their worst fears for things they consider to be more important. No matter how scared they are, they never let it overwhelm them.
They give me hope. If they can make it through evil sorcerers and horrible curses, then I'll probably survive housing troubles or downturns at work. I may not be able to stop myself from worrying, but with their help I can worry a little less.
About Jenniffer Wardell
You can find her on her blog, Chasing Thoughts Like Butterflies, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
For most princesses, a sleeping curse means a few inconvenient weeks unconscious followed by a happily-ever-after with their true love. Seventeen-year-old Elena's curse, however, was designed without a cure, which means that she's getting a century-long nap for her 18th birthday whether she wants it or not. After years of study she's still no closer to finding a cure, even with the help of an undead godfather and an enchanted mirror-turned-therapist. With only a year until the deadline she's learned to accept her fate. Sadly, there's one prince who doesn't seem to have gotten the memo and who’s continually trying to activate the curse so he can be the one to wake her up again. Only slightly less annoying is Cam, her new bodyguard and former childhood acquaintance who disagrees with Elena at pretty much every turn. When the curse threatens to come early, however, they both realize that fate is a lot more complicated than they'd ever imagined.