Today’s prompt from the DIY MFA Book Club is: What’s Your Storytelling Superpower? and the idea is to reflect on one’s strengths as a writer. And there’s a fun quiz at DIY MFA to identify what your storytelling superpower is to start that process.
So, according to the quiz I’m a Protector. My characters see their world in danger and protect the world and those they love, at whatever cost to themselves.
At first glance, I wasn’t sure how well that really applied to my work. I think of my stories as being very ‘small’ in the sense that my characters deal with personal issues for the most part. (Although they are also science fiction and take place in a near-future and usually not on Earth.)
But the more I think about it, the more I do see something of the ‘Protector’ in my work, especially a few of my more recent short stories. I have a recently published story that deals with a woman making a decision about whether or not to leave her small, coastal town as the effects of climate change mount around her. And there is another story about a woman trying to escape with her child from a spaceship under attack. (Links to the anthologies those stories appear in are here.)
In both of those cases, there is a sense that the main character is trying to hold on to something that is slipping away, that she wants to protect, but it is something that she may or may not be successful at doing.
Perhaps I’m a failed Protector, in the sense that my characters often face loss and decisions that must be made between bad choices. They may want to protect the world and those they love, but it is not always possible. Events transpire that limit or define their agency. Or, if it is possible to protect something, it is not in the way that they originally thought. (That last idea is explored in a story I have coming out later this year.)