The Value of Rethinking



I sometimes find that I don’t want to do something. Say, eating pickles. Okay, bad example. I always don’t want to eat pickles. But let’s take it for example nevertheless. Say that one time I refuse the pickles in the presence of my mom, who might have made the pickles by hand, herself. She protests, because she’s my mom, and I have to defend my choice.

“Well, I never like pickles. They’re sour. I can’t think of a single pickled thing I like.” Subtext: it’s me, not you. It’s not that I don’t like your pickles, it’s that I don’t like any pickles.

Next thing you know, I pass the pickles by on the grocery store aisle, and eventually it’s a settled thing: I don’t like pickles.

Do you do this in your fiction? I don’t write romance. I don’t read nonfiction. I don’t write in first person. Maybe because it seemed hard at the time, or you just haven’t tried it, or you feel some faint desire to defend a genre choice or a type of character.

Every time you bump up against something like that, be mindful. Realize what you’re doing and consider whether you REALLY don’t like pickles, or whether you just haven’t tried them in a long while. It might be worth your time to give that genre a chance, or try a different author who writes in first person. It might even be worth your time to try it yourself.

Sometimes it turns out you liked the green squishy things better than you thought.

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