MF 159 : Listen to Your Characters to Move Forward in Your Writing, with Tricia Stewart Shiu
Tricia Stewart Shiu is an award-winning writer of several best selling books in the YA sci-fi and fantasy genres. Today, Tricia will share how to move forward in your writing by listening to your characters.
Successes at a glance:
35-time award-winning, bestselling author:
Acclaimed speaker and intuition in business expert.
Founder of Human Being Company and content creator:
Inspirational recordings have been downloaded 1.5 million times
Former executive assistant at a top 6 entertainment studio.
Tricia’s educational background is in psychology. After school, she decided she wanted to write and work in the entertainment industry. To make ends meet, Tricia started temping. Within a short time, she got an offer to work for Rupert Murdock, the head of Fox studios. Tricia worked at Fox for 8 years but her desire to create never left her. In 2000, Tricia left her job to pursue writing. While in Hawaii, Tricia had what can only be described as a metaphysical, ethereal experience. To process it and try to make sense of it all, Tricia took classes in metaphysics. This was the catalyst that led Tricia to write several books in the young adult (YA) science fiction genre. Tricia eventually returned to being a high-level executive assistant in 2008 when the economy tanked; this time to the COO of FOX. While the work was familiar, Tricia was the not the same person as she was prior to when she left. The transition was tough for Tricia, especially after her extraordinary journey as a writer. Tricia saw just how shut off people were in the corporate world. Tricia describes this as a feeling of “numbed out discontent.” However, when it came to the c-level executives, Tricia saw something different that truly surprised her. She noticed many of them were using the same tools of intuition and mindfulness that she had been using as a writer. While they may not have known the terms of “intuition,” the way they looked at the world, worked a room and communicated with people exemplified many similar qualities. During her time back at FOX, Tricia continued to write, including a recent book on the executive assistant world: Please Hold.
Tricia’s big why:
Tricia’s big why is figuring out her big why. She is constantly thinking about the bigger questions: why am I here, what is my purpose? For Tricia, her metaphysical experience allowed her to connect with that part of herself that she never fully explored before. Today, it informs her writing and it has led her to believe that we are here to remember parts of ourselves that we have forgotten.
Biggest challenge today:
The number one challenge Tricia faces when she speaks about intuition and metaphysics is skepticism.
Moving forward past that challenge:
Trust. Tricia trusts in herself. She doesn’t let the skepticism that she experienced nor that she receives from others shake her trust in herself. This has also helped inform her writing by giving her deeper, more meaningful relationships with her characters.
For writing and developing a more intimate connection with your characters:
Tricia shares that when you let the story flow thru you, that’s an objective way of writing characters. When you only write objectively, sometimes you don’t feel a connection with your characters and the trap is to write the story from the way you see things.
To develop an intimate relationship with your characters and let them drive the story, have conversations with them. Tricia did this with one of her characters while in the car. Through those conversations, you may discover aspects of them that you never understood or realized.
Best writing tip for 2018:
Listen to your characters (see above). Your characters know where they’re going and they can help you write the story. If you’re stuck, you’re probably not listening to what they have to say.
Favorite app, website, or productivity practice for moving forward in writing:
The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler and Michele Montez: Tricia recommends this as a great resource to understand writing structure.
How Tricia is moving forward today:
Listen to myself.
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Who is Tricia in five years?:
Tricia has her dream home with a beautiful ocean view. Her life is filled with people who are supportive and share similar interests. Tricia is speaking to groups of people who are interested in moving forward!
“I want to let people know that listening is active. Listening is about truth and actually about communication. So a lot of people go back into something, into themselves, and they don’t understand that actually listening is something that includes communication. So I want to encourage people to connect with their truth in that quiet moment as I will and understand that you’re loved.”