Belinda Nicoll is a published author and a personal coach who brings an MFA in Creative Writing and NLP life-coaching certifications to the creative writing process.
I’m working on a novel approach to story structure - Character Transformation based on a Life Coaching Model - that provides unique insight into the dynamics of CHANGE.
Thanks to my background in NLP life coaching, I believe character transformation in storytelling should follow the same principles that govern CHANGE in real life. Just as sensory observation helps me to understand how life coaching clients relate to their challenges, successes, and failures, greater awareness of the self can help writers convey the subtle cues associated with the different thoughts, emotions, internal conflicts, behavior patterns, and transformation processes of their characters.
The ability to render vivid characters and create intricate plots will lead to works of greater depth: In the pre-publication phase of my book, I suggest you follow my blog for creative writing tips on how to bring about credible TRANSFORMATION in storytelling through a better understanding of the dynamics of CHANGE. Please watch out for the publication of my creative writing guide (title and publication date TBA soon), which will offer a more comprehensive discussion on Character Transformation based on a Life Coaching Model.
I’m currently writing a novel that was inspired by historical events in South Africa, a legendary disaster in the United States, and a horrifying crime in Austria. The story is set in South Africa’s semi-desert Karoo and in New Orleans, Louisiana. When the baby of a troubled couple—a man seeking revenge for the atrocities of his father’s generation and a woman also feeling unduly victimized by past events—enters the world during a natural disaster, her Bushmen nanny sees this as a sign of dark things to come and calls on the Spirits for help.
It's an intricate plot spanning many generations and two continents. It's written in third-person roving point of view. The story opens with a prologue about the early life of the Bushmen of the Kalahari. It's against this background that the real story unfolds to explore themes like war, rape, intergenerational shame, postpartum depression, and shamanic traditions.
The premise: Atrocities, such as rape and war, leave a legacy of emotional disturbance that affect not only individuals—families and whole societies suffer for generations. When shame and anger lead to depression and abusive behavior, a shame-violence-guilt cycle is set in motion. Though psychologists would suggest true forgiveness of self and others to heal this type of identity disturbance and terminate the cycle of destruction, the Spirits may call for a sacrifice to end the bloodline, thus safeguarding the mental health of the next generation.