Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fighting with Imaginary People

Since currently I am having a bit of a disagreement with one of my characters, I thought I would take a minute to discuss these tricky little devils that tend to take up residence in my noggin. Arguing with fictitious characters? YES! Are you crazy? Probably, but it works for me. :-)

There’s a character that sort of created himself for the book that I am currently working on. I saw a random guy in an elevator, and there was just something about him that was so unique and interesting. His appearance just kind of hit a little note in my head, and like a Rube Goldberg contraption a match was lit, a rope snapped, a bowling bowl hit a nerve, and soon this new critter was born and demanding center stage.

As his development continued, I began to see him one way, but he keeps pulling me in another direction, kicking and screaming behind him. Now, you might say, “You’re in charge, after all, you are the writer.” Lies! All bloody lies! If I force this character to do what I want instead of listening to him - - it will show. He won’t be three-dimensional; he’ll be a stick figure designed to serve a purpose. A sentence that I would not inflict.

I have done this with each of my characters. I have just set back and listened to them, letting them unfold the story one whisper at a time. This particular one just keeps wanting to take the story on a path that I didn’t really want to go down, but you know what, (and shh! Don’t tell him I told you this) he’s right. The story will be so much better for this depth and the twist that he has brought to the table.

If you are a new writer, listen to your characters, they have great stories to tell. Let them breathe, and just follow them faithfully - - pen in hand!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Not in Charge

I’m writing this as more of a reminder to myself. ;-)
I have started the process of writing the sequel to Iron Thirst. It doesn’t have a name yet, but neither did IT at this point. Which brings me to my point…
I have noticed that I start feeling a little overwhelmed when I begin working on the new book. I’m intimidated by the process and find that I get all fuzzy headed when I start putting the thoughts on paper. After doing a little soul searching, I have figured out why.
The first book started with one scene, progressed to two, and continued to grow. I don’t think I ever actually believed that I would write a book, so there was no pressure. This go round it seems different. I know what I am up to. I want to write a book, and get aggravated at how little I know about how it will turn out, what new characters we will meet, etc.
So, I decided to go back and look at how I wrote the first one.
As I have discussed before, I write mosaic style which I didn’t even know was a real style when I started. I just touched the book a little bit each day. I built an outline, and then would write what I felt. When I felt mushy, I wrote the love scenes. When I felt silly, I focused on the humor. When I was pissy, I would kill people. (Only in the book!) In the new book, there seems to be a lot of dead people. Not sure what that means Mmm… anyway.
Even the characters were built like a quilt. Little pieces of fabric from people I’ve met. No one character is a mirror image of anyone else. Not even me. More of a buffet with tiny samples that ended up filling the personality plate of the character.
I enjoyed watching the word count grow. From hundreds to thousands to tens of thousands. Each day I added a little more. And I did not know from one day to the next the direction the book would take me. One little piece of inspiration would drag me down a completely different road. It’s amazing how separated I felt from the process. I didn’t feel like I was the one in control. These characters were in my head telling me their story. Sometimes even when I didn’t want to listen. It is a very humbling experience.
Again, this is more of a letter to myself, reminding me to be patient. The story will reveal itself when it’s ready, and not a moment before. Until then I will cuddle the first book; it hasn’t left the nest yet.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Perfect Workspace

I am reading a book about how to write your first novel, umm, after I wrote my first novel. Logic, well, I was seeing if there is something I could use to make it better. It can always be a better first novel. So, far it’s a lot of pretty words describing the craft. Inspirational – yes, making me rewrite the storyline – no.

One of the things I read was about setting up the workspace you will use when you write. A nice quiet area, free from distractions, with all the necessary tools. When it is time to write, put a sign on the door “Author at work.”

I thought of this today while I was bunkered down in my parked car in the seven story parking garage at my office space. A notebook propped lovingly on the steering wheel, with a pen in my hand that died three times. The tranquil sounds of cars tearing ass as they leave for lunch. The delicate perfume of car exhaust. The luxurious backdrop of concrete and steel.

Ahh, my muse!

I’m kind of thinking, if you want to write, just pick up a pen and write.

Friday, August 7, 2009

One Step Closer

Last night, I pulled all of the chapters out of their manila envelopes; three-hole punched them, and placed them in a binder. My eyes couldn’t help but tear up. Sitting on my bed was a blue three-ring binder filled with my words. An actual book. The thickness of the stacked paper sprinkled with black twelve point font caused the tears to spill over.
So many times along the road, I questioned if I would see it through. And staring back at me was proof that I would.
There is much work to still be done. A complete set of revisions and formatting it into manuscript form. But the story has been told. Felicity and Blake and all the wonderful characters that have been living inside my head have told their story. Now it’s up to me to polish it, and prepare it for its journey.
This is merely the beginning.