How understanding the heart chakra will improve your writing

When we get clear about each of our characters’ sense of awareness about themselves, their awareness of each other and how they interact and take action, as we discussed with the Solar Plexus Chakra, we can then move forward with writing authentic, round, dynamic supporting characters for our protagonist – even, and maybe especially – their antagonist(s).

We humans sometimes have a tendency to want to get revenge in our writing against people who have harmed us. But hard as it may be to write about our stories’ antagonists with love and compassion – especially when we’re writing memoir-based stories – it’s essential if we want to connect with readers and help them see the complexities of life and relationships in a new light. (And remember, this isn’t about writing to excuse bad behavior. It’s about exploring the complexities of the human condition.)

As the wonderful Ann Lamott says, “You are going to love some of your characters, because they are you or some facet of you, and you are going to hate some of your characters for the same reason. But no matter what, you are probably going to have to let bad things happen to some of the characters you love or you won’t have much of a story. Bad things happen to good characters, because our actions have consequences, and we do not all behave perfectly all the time.”

Because like it or not, even our real-life antagonists are facets of us. Throughout life, we come up against people who serve as mirrors of us. Think of it as spiritual checks and balances. And this is the level of understanding and insight we want to impart on the page.

Do you have an antagonist you want to paint as evil and are having a hard time finding her/his humanity?

Go back to this character’s backstory, as we discussed in the post on the Root Chakra, and see what you can find in their history.

How understanding the Heart Chakra can help your writing

Recently, I wrote about how understanding the Root, Sacral, and Power chakras can help your writing. This week, I’m writing about how understanding the Heart Chakra can help.

indexBut first, remember, we always want to begin with a framework of a character. In this case, let’s say a 35-year-old man.

Now, from a generative standpoint, we can begin with one of the primary fears or negative manifestations of the heart chakra (because we want to give our character something to struggle with, consider, or transform): inability to forgive oneself or others.

What might he have done that he can’t forgive himself for? Imagine all possible scenarios and pick the one that resonates most with you. Get him thinking about it. Get him moving around in a space. Start to write.

From a corrective standpoint, let’s imagine that we already have the 35-year-old man who we know is racked with guilt and can’t forgive himself for some act or decision he’s made. We can begin to look deeper at the Heart Chakra and ask these questions:

  • Who does he love?
  • What makes him happy?

Even better if he’s done the very thing that makes him happy but is not able to forgive himself for it because it will hurt the person he loves. That will create some good tension, which is just what we want.

 

Where did this lead you?

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