To start my book, back in February, I began by identifying my character’s misbelief that would take over his life. This would be the belief that ripples out into everything he does, and by page would have a death grip on his desires.

A mistake I had made when searching for this was mistaking a rash action with the creation of a misbelief.

I had wanted my character to come out to this moment with a belief about his parents and their irrational beliefs in the church. I thought what if his parents donate all their money to the church, so much so that he can’t even buy new clothes for school.

My coach quickly pointed out, donating money isn’t a deep change in misbeliefs, even if they donate all the money and cause him and his family to be homeless. That’s a big event. But that’s simply a strong belief by his parents and them backing it up. Nothing about his worldview changed besides his parent’s belief in the church was stronger than he thought.

Instead, we want him to question everything that came before, including what he believed about his parent’s belief. Cliche extreme example: he’s known his parents have had a strong belief in the church because they are always defending people of the church in court and helping the community. But the court papers came out and they were defending the children pedophiles of the church. Now that would force a belief that could, likely would take over his life.

The key is to focus on recontextualization, that moment where nothing that came before is ever the same, where you’re suddenly tossed into chaos and forced to question everything before you, even question those people you held most dear to you.