Personal journals are a catalyst for writing fiction. Fantasy, mythology, and fairy tales may serve as an effective third person point of view for the notebook. Creating a character is a fanciful and sometimes revealing exercise in exploring the subconscious mind. Naming feelings and connecting them to fictional people is a way to express moods and experiences without getting bogged down in alot of personal junk.
Archetypes such as the explorer, the shopkeeper, the gypsy, and the monk are some of my favorites.
Here’s an example of using a character to delve into creative writing. The theme is: I’m feeling introspective and need some consolation from a wise sage.
“Lately she was in a solitary mood, easily lapsing into long silences. The weather had been stifling. The 112 degree temps caused her to dream about cool mountaintops with white aspens and crunching leaves. She spent the hottest days instead with the air conditioning on full blast with dozens of chores staring at her. Black and white movies such as Ozu’s Late Spring calmed her. The slow moving scenery with purposeful movements and subtle background sounds made her feel methodical and loved, somehow insightful. A vague restlessness followed her with watchful eyes like a puppy. Night became her beautiful friend.
Enter the character: “ Zenzo the Monk. Her friend Zenzo the monk walked every day on the south side of the mountain. He lived in a simple home of two rooms. Every morning he rolled up his sleeping mat, then brewed strong jasmine tea, setting the teapot and cups on a low table of deep maroon-colored wood.
Zenzo was funny, often using ironic humor to make light of her awkwardness. Physically he appeared to be a little stooped but was agile as a tender reed. His hat, woven from strange-looking straw, sat at an angle across his forehead. He greeted her for their morning sessions with a smile. Together they walked to a cave tucked in a hillside above the sprawling public park. Stocky oaks and delicate maples shielded the entrance from view. They could see people walking below. Sometimes rain fell softly as Zenzo told stories of mystical beings that help from the other side. Once in a while, he said, visitors appeared in people’s vision. They might be stopped at a crosswalk, or driving in a car, or riding a bike. They looked the witness full in the face. Then they glance away, leaving the observer with an unsettled yet excited feeling. She felt her mistrust falling away after long conversations with her friend. He understood.”
Just the writing of one or two paragraphs in third person slows everything down and gives space to the emotions.