Inspiration From Zuzu #amwriting

I can’t remember how the magnificent Sezin Koehler and I became online friends; I think it was when I was first on Pinterest and she was posting the most amazing pins like ev-ver. At any rate, online friends we are, and I very much enjoy reading her books, her articles, and her blog.

This article, Why I Almost Chose an Arranged Marriage, is my inspiration for today’s post.

Why is my inspiration? Not because of the choice or the decision or the reasoning, although those are deep, searingly personal, and (as always with her) explained with clarity and uncloying emotion.

I’m inspired by the action and by the flow of her narrative.

  • She introduces herself as someone who wanted to be married and why she had that desire.
  • Marriage seemed an unobtainable goal.
  • Because of her heritage, an arranged marriage is possible.
  • Flashing back, she recounted that her father had tried to arrange a marriage when she was an infant, but her American mother stopped that plan dead in its tracks.
  • She contacted her mother for details on why.
  • Her mother’s information on what an arranged marriage in her culture meant and her understanding of what it could mean, shocked and repulsed her.
  • Having rejected her last hope, she, in an almost Hollywood reversal, met and married the love of her life.

What a perfect example of life-into-art … indeed, life as art!

Notice how beautifully she structured that narrative, giving you just what you need to know just when you need to know it. Read it, and see how seamlessly and organically it seems to flow, then look at that skeleton again and see how tightly and satisfactorily the underlying framework is.

I especially like the “I want this; Mom refused me this; Mom explains and I agree” three-act arc, with the character of Mom going from cultural bigot to defending angel.

If you want to teach yourself how to write, you could do worse than study Sezin Koehler, lemme tell ya.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character reaches out to someone from their past, learning about the past, themselves, and the person.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Inspiration From Zuzu #amwriting

  1. Dan Antion

    July 17, 2017 at 7:27am

    Wow – when real life is better than fiction – I love it.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. joey

    July 17, 2017 at 12:40pm

    This really does pique my interest and I’m off to have a looksee — I’m especially intrigued by how mom is so many things, as I think this paradox is probably the pinnacle of how we feel about out parents.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      July 17, 2017 at 4:09pm

      Zuzu is an astounding writer — one of those writers who makes what she does look natural and effortless, but whose work is layered and complex.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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