07 January 2013

You're Only Jealous Because Stories Don't Talk to You

I am so excited. Seriously, jumping up and down pumping the air excited.

Did I win the lottery? Hubs hired me a house-cleaner? I found out I'm a bestselling author?

No. That would be the day. And oh man, I wish.

Don't laugh or call those guys in white coats to come take me away and I'll tell you my secret. Are you ready?

In the shower while I was washing my hair, the meaning of the universe was revealed, well at least in the universe I am creating. In short, the story I am working on told me what it's about. That my friends is worth an air punch or two.

This would possibly make more sense if I backed up and explained my writing process. Unlike normal authors, I don't necessarily know what I am writing. The story reveals itself to me in strange and unusual ways. To start at the beginning is to find a seedling of an idea, call it a simple kernel of truth, or a nugget so intriguing that I want to turn it over in my hand and hold it up for the world to see.

For example, Soul Stealer, came from a writing contest prompt about a man who kills a beautiful woman. I HATED that prompt. I almost didn't enter the contest because I write happily-ever-after-love stories. How was that going to work if the man kills the woman in the first scene? Unless...

Unless that man was Death coming to kill the one woman he can't live without. Now we're talking. ~rubs palms together.

The next part of my process involves the character sketch. So I have Death. Who is he? What's his background? What is he afraid of? Does he love, hate, or feel indifferent to his job? If he could changes things, would he? I sit down with a pad of paper and sketch out all that I can about this character.

I do the same thing for the heroine. Who is she? She's dying. Why? What would she give Death in order to live longer. He's been around forever and has heard it all. What could he possibly want from her? Why would she want to deal with him?

Once I know my characters pretty well, I jot down the scenes that I know have to be in the story. At this point I usually can "see" the climax and even the ending. I know where I want to go and have a general sense of how to get there.

But! This is the big BUT, the meaning of the universe has yet to be revealed. The deep down core meaning of the book needs to come to life. It's frustrating, really, but it takes time for that kernel to grow into a tree. Many times, if the core meaning is really deep, I need to write half the book to find it. It's like digging and digging in search of treasure buried deep in the pages. When I find the loot? Air pump!!!

This happened to me this morning. In the shower. Yes, the stories talk to me. Thank goodness.

Post a Comment