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March 16, 2011

My boys are into Star Wars right now. Fine with me, I am not as savvy with superheroes as the Star Wars series. I have seen all the movies, know the characters, and actually adore Yoda for his spiritual perception.

Since I am now home, my little one stalks me and begs me to play. I enjoy playing with my kids, but must admit many times there are so many thoughts of things I have to do and things I want to do, I am a bit frustrated sitting in the room surrounded by stuffed animals and listening to his step by step instructions. In my effort to be more conscious of my moments here in life, especially amidst so many tragedies, I am trying to go with the flow and enjoy.

This morning we lined up all 10 stuffed animals and named each one of them from the Star Wars Bible: a list of heroes and villains and a description. Once we had our cast, I must follow my son’s instructions on what to say and the rules of the game. I’ve found him playing with his friends and brother and he’s not the pushy sort – he is very give and take but there is something about his mother that unveils his bossy side. I have to play by his rules.

Lately, I have found his rules much more enjoyable than mine.

Rule number 1: No one dies. He tells me this solemnly each time we begin playing. There are great battles of good versus evil and many get hurt. But they are never dead. They each get up after the injury completely heals, and are issued an apology from the bad guy who hurt them. This would make the world a better place.

Rule number 2: Every one gets to play. Each character has a part – even a one liner – and is involved as a group effort.

Rule number 3: Everyone must have fun.  There is singing, dancing, building of forts and swamps, and great creatures all around us. When my son senses my growing distress as time ticks on, he literally grabs my chin and makes me focus on his face, like I am the child and he is the parent. Then he says my name.  “Mommy.” And I am brought back.

Rule number 4: There is always a happy ending.

This morning’s play time sparked my creativity about life and writing. Why is it so bad to crave a happily ever after? We should be aware of the bad in the world, but we need to hold on to the belief that good will triumph.  Solid play time is needed in all of our lives and so easily dismissed with a wave of the hand and a sniff about “real life.” Play is real life.

Writing is a form of play that keeps me alive. It is also a reminder to make sure your characters play. If every section of dialogue is serious; if each plot twist is so fast we don’t have time to breathe; and if your characters don’t seem to be able to laugh, I don’t think you are doing your character justice. I love to create a quirk or a funny secret for each of my characters. In The Tantric Principle, my heroine curses like a truck driver; says anything on her mind; but will melt at the first sight of a furry animal, especially a dog. Interaction with animals and children always lighten things up and bring out a character’s playful side. Another way is giving a character a hobby he/she is passionate about – the quirkier the better.  In my novel, The Marriage Bargain, my heroine is a fanatic about baseball – particularly the NY Mets. This, of course, is a perfect contradiction to the hero’s love for the winning Yankees, and becomes a funny way to bring out their personalities.

Sometimes, a happily ever after can be a short chapter of afternoon playtime; a solitary cup of coffee; or the wonderful two words we type after a finished manuscript: The End.

I wish all of you a little play – for you, your children, and your characters.

❤️ Leave a comment → 


  1. Jennifer,

    My boys are into Star Wars too! I grew up with the films and they mean alot to me. It’s fun to share with them. It’s hard to keep them away from my memorbilia though. (I have comic books and trading cards that are more than 30 years old).

    I totally agree about the HEA. It helps me round out the things I have to deal with in life.

    You are a very insightful writer. I enjoy reading your posts.

    Abbi 🙂

  2. Liz says:

    Cute post. Did you know that in the empire strikes back when princess leia tells hans solo she loves him before he gets frozen the script had him replying – I love you too – but Harrison Ford said Hans Solo would never say that and he came up with the cocky line of “I know.” He was so dead on.

    • jennifer121 says:

      Guess what? I literally just watched that movie 2 nights ago, my boys were transfixed and I saw that part and remember thinking, That is so him. Great trivia. Does it say something about how I always preferred Hans Solo – alpha male – to nice Luke????

  3. Liz says:

    We do so love those alpha males!

  4. I smiled all the way through this post. Your son is a treasure beyond compare. Out there in the big world is a little girl growing up with no idea of what a lucky woman she will one day be when she meets your boy and together they begin their happily ever after.

  5. That must say something about me. I so preferred Luke Skywalker over Han Solo. No wonder I have trouble writing alpha males!

    Abbi 🙂

  6. What a great post. There’s nothing wrong with happy endings especially when we write. I seldom kill off a majoy character and I write some fantasy. I do kill off villains and rather enjoy it. In fact, in my mystery series, several of the dead ones my heroine did not kill, are based on people I wanted to kill in reality. Writing can be so cathartic.

  7. J:o)anne says:

    Hello Jennifer,
    I really liked the topic of this newsletter since it’s why I’ve started writing children’s books. I love all the sci-fi movies and tv series. I also love ones with magic, fairies, even vampires. Animated cartoons are also a lot of fun – Shrek, Finding Nemo, and Wall-E (my favorite). They allow our imagination to run wild where everything and anything is possible. I’m applying your son’s rules to my writing! J:O)anne

    • jennifer121 says:

      I love seeing you here! I am so glad you get it – they are so much fun and have depth. Children teach us so many lessons if we just stop and listen. Children’s books are full of that magic and wonder – I love your site.

  8. Regina, that is the nicest thing you can ever say to a mom – thank you!!!

  9. I agree, Janet, I am thinking of writing something soon about someone evil in the corporate world – and I know just who I am going to make the villain! Thank goodness for fiction!

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