3 Things My Own Character Taught Me About Coping With Change

As a writer, you would think you know everything your characters know. After all, your the one who gives them their knowledge. You put the thoughts in their heads and make them do what they do. However, I often find myself surprised by my very own characters. Sometimes, they even manage to teach me something.

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Right now, our family is gearing up for a move. While it is something I am very excited about, a part of me is also resisting. You see, it is change, and I hate change. It is especially hard when I have to try and feel at home in a new place and fit in with new people. As I’ve been trying to convince myself to accept the inevitability of these things, I’ve realized this is one area one of my characters may be able to teach me a thing or two.
Ashlynn, the main character in Gateway to Aviandria, knows a bit about change. Not only does she get hurled into a place that is completely new, she also has to get used to different cultures and ideas. Nearly everything about her life changes. As I examine her reactions, I notice a few things she does to help cope with the change. I will see if I can share without giving away any spoilers.
1- Ashlynn makes a connection with the people around her by learning all she can about them. Instead of just waiting for others to reach out and pull her in, she takes matters into her own hands and reaches out to them. She learns that Dillyn’s favorite activities include fencing and story telling. She is fast to pinpoint Alder’s expertise on rocs and doesn’t hesitate to ask him about it and allow him to teach her. She listens to what is important to others and tries to use it in her interactions. She clearly expresses interest in those around her.
2- From the very beginning, Ashlynn gets involved. Is archery the pastime of the day? She’ll give it a try. Is there a robbery that needs to be foiled? She’s not about to sit back and watch. Is there a tyrant to be overthrown? Count her in. Ashlynn jumps in with both feet. If she is going to be there, she is going to make herself useful in any way possible. This has the effect of carving out a spot for her and making it so she would be missed if she were gone. By involving herself, she becomes a part of the new world in a way she never would be able to if she had just sat back and waited for it to feel like home.
3- Although Ashlynn misses her old life, she doesn’t obsess over it. Sure, she thinks of her friends and family. Sure she wants to get back home. In fact, that’s what she wants more than anything else, but she doesn’t let what she had get in the way of what she might gain from her new circumstances. Although she doesn’t forget the past, she doesn’t dwell in it.
Ashlynn really seems to know how to take change and turn it not only into something bearable, but something positive. Now, I have to keep telling myself that if Ashlynn can do this in an entirely different world, without a single familiar person, surely I can do it in a fairly familiar place with my own family and plenty of friends just a phone call or text message away. So thank you, Ashlynn, for teaching me these tips. Bring on the change.

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