In this week’s installment of Interview with an Author, we interviewed Linda K. Watts about her memoir Better Endings: A Guidebook for Creative Re-Visioning.
The memoir is ‘a fun, self-discovery approach to personal memoir and mindfulness journaling.’ Watt wants you to reclaim your creative license and create the ending you want!
What made you write this novel about Better Endings?
Linda Watts: Well first, this is not a novel but a non-fiction Personal Growth/ Memoir Writing book. The idea developed over time ever since the day I walked out of the Peter Jackson version of King Kong, just before Kong was to fall to his death from the Empire State Building. No, I thought! Not again! So I left the theater, went to a café and wrote out a new ending to the story. In my ‘better endings’ version, Kong survives! I started doing this sort of better endings re-visionist journaling with other movie endings I had never liked, then with novels and historical events. At some point I realized this same principle of creative license we can apply to our own life stories. I started a blog called Better Endings (betterendingsnow.com) in which I have continued to explore this fundamental creative principle, and eventually I decided to write the book.
As a writer myself, having writer’s block is the worst. How should writers go about breaking out of that slump?
Linda Watts: Blogging has been what has helped me to keep the juices flowing. I am constantly thinking about what topic I will blog about for the coming week. Since blogging is a very public activity, it keeps me focused on communicating in a public way. This has helped me keep my writing personal, as a me-to-you dialogue.
What endings in a movie or a novel would you change?
Linda Watts: That is a very good question to ask yourself! Throughout the book Better Endings: A Guidebook for Creative Re-Visioning, I include Better Endings Story Seeds with journaling prompts about the chapter’s theme, followed by three full pages of journaling space and a fourth page for the reader titled “My Reflections”. I ask you to make a list, for example, of 3-5 movies whose endings you wish you could change, then to choose one or more of those and compose a ‘better endings’ story or scenario. Then I ask you to reflect on why you have chosen these particular movies or stories. What might these stories that you wish ended differently be mirroring about your own life decisions or ambitions? Could you learn something from writing a better movie ending that could also apply to tweaking your approach to a situation in your own life?
Some endings are perfect even if they are bitter or sad. Is this approach for bad endings or any endings that wasn’t a happy ending?
Linda Watts: I do make it clear throughout the book that ‘better endings’ are not always happy endings. Also this is not about improving the author’s writing or their vision of their own story. But it is about practicing this principle of creative license and re-visioning your own life story. I like to say that Better Endings are new Beginnings! Sometimes it is about finding the meaning or the lesson and achieving closure in a way that lets you benefit from the awareness gained and carry that forward.
What should readers expect to read in this novel?
Linda Watts: Not a novel, again, but this is a chance to look at your own life AS Story, so you can realize you can be flexible in re-visioning your own memories and your future life dream. I like to say (as I am an anthropologist by profession) that as humans we are Homo Narrativus, or Storytellers. You are the writer, director, and main character (along with your ensemble cast of relations) of your own Life Story. You have lived through a series of meaningful Life Chapters, shot through with Themes, Goals, Challenges, and dramatic events. I hope that as you do the journaling (and please do!) with this book, you will be bringing your own life story more clearly into view and that it may bring you some great ideas and motivation for going forward into your future life chapters with a more mindful awareness of what you would most choose to actualize in living your best life!
That is the end of our interview! You can find Linda Watts’ novel on Amazon by following the link down below. Happy Reading!