Change Is Inevitable

Originally posted June 8, 2012

I tell my creative writing students that their characters must grow and change over the course of their stories.  Without these two essential elements, characters seem lifeless and dull, unaffected by the conflicts we novelists create for them.  And ultimately if our characters don’t grow and change over the course of a story, then we really don’t have a story — and we don’t have readers.  Change – along with conflict and tension—is what keeps readers turning the page.

But in real life— at least, for me— it’s hard to practice what I preach.  Although I’ve always embraced creative growth and hope that my work is constantly improving, I’ve never really liked change.  In fact, I resist it.  My favorite red boots are at least ten or twelve years old (they regularly get new soles and heels almost every year), my “new” car turns six this year, and the collective age of the outfit I’m wearing right now (jeans, cardigan, and camisole): Eleven.  My earrings date from the mid-1980s; the ring on my finger was my grandmother’s: my grandfather gave it to her in 1948.  So you get the picture: I prefer permanence to change in my everyday life.  Maybe that’s why it’s taken me so long to launch a new Web site.

But change is inevitable and it’s time to start a new chapter in my real life.  My next book, an annotated version of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s unpublished autobiography— “Pioneer Girl” — will be out next year.  I have a new literary agent.  I’m about to finish revisions on a new young adult novel.  So it’s clearly time for this new Web site.  And it will change too over time.  Look for more photos new videos, and more details about “Pioneer Girl.” 

Who knows?  Maybe before the summer’s out, I’ll buy myself a new pair of red boots. 

Holly Atkinson