Five Lies Every Character/Writer Believes

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by Angela Arndt

Every good character has obstacles to keep him from reaching his goals. Whether your heroine is a nuclear scientist creating a secret device to save the world or a receptionist who’s secretly in love with the town doctor, any lie she believes that keeps her from reaching that goal must be exposed. It’s part of the plotting process.

Have you ever been in the middle of resolving that conflict and realized that the lie that your character believes is the same one you believe? Your secrets may not be as dramatic, but some part of you knows exactly how your character feels in that deepest, blackest moment.

Do these lies sound familiar?

  1. I’m Not Good Enough. If you’ve ever had a hero plagued by his past, you know how it can affect his actions. Whether it’s a murder or a lie, regret will keep him away from the future everyone else thinks he deserves.
    Your past may be brighter than a blizzard, but you still hear that lie when your manuscript is rejected. “If it’s not good enough, I’m not good enough.”
  2. No One Loves Me. The fraternal twin to the first lie, this one is based on fear. If your heroine pushes everyone away, she’s been hurt very badly. Her past is the key to her future.
    If you’ve ever lost someone, you may think no one will ever love you again. Being alone has a deep hurt and this lie runs just as deep.
  3. It’s My Job to Make Everyone Happy. This is the clown who makes things happen, always helpful, always understanding. But behind his sunny attitude, he’s paying penance for sin.
    What’s wrong with being a people-pleaser? Everything. You’re serving them instead of God. Your writing ends up on a digital back shelf and you never become who God made you to be.
  4. I’m Not Enough. This heroine twists her hair and bites her fingernails. She wishes she had blond hair instead of mousy brown. She’s so busy worrying about who she isn’t, she misses the boy who thinks she’s perfect.
    Comparing your stats (websites, social media numbers, contests results) to other writers’ is always a bad idea. Keep repeating this lie and you’ll convince everybody else.
  5. No One Else is Good Enough. The antagonist who believes this lie is the inspector who keeps the café from opening. He’s the director that makes the leading lady cry. But dig down deep: he doesn’t think he’s good enough either.

Lies make good stories and good walls. They separate friends and family, stifle creativity and most of all they keep us from having a solid relationship with our God.

There’s one truth that wipes out all, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

Know this truth: He loves you, pubbed, un-pubbed, or pre-pubbed. His love covers all.

Angela Arndt writes women’s fiction with a thread of romance. Stories of strong, independent women in difficult situations set in small Southern towns are her favorite. She and her husband live outside one in the middle of a big wood thousands and thousands of honeybees.



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