Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Cool Things About Writing a Story

What are some of the cool things about writing a story? What about when a character materializes out of nowhere, or they do something unexpected?

When I started writing, Beyond the Eyes, my character Tree was one of those characters who had magically appeared before my eyes. I wasn’t planning on having a character in the story who was six foot five with a bitchin’ Mohawk. So when it happened, I was rather surprised. In fact, he became my main character’s best friend. I didn’t have to think about what type of personality Tree had because as I wrote scenes with him in it, his personality came through all on its own. It reminds me of automatic writing when your writing is produced without a conscious awareness of the content. Some people claim it’s produced from your subconscious mind, and others claim it comes from a spiritual source. I don’t know where it comes from, but it’s fun when it happens. However, I think the idea of Tree’s style, with his Mohawk and Sex Pistols sweatshirt came from a guy Kevin knew back in Germany that he had told me about. But Tree’s personality was purely organic.

Before I had started that story, I was trying to figure out what to write. I knew I wanted to write a YA (young adult) paranormal book with crossover potential, something that would cause the reader to question whether there was any truth to it. I wanted to write and tell it in such a way that the reader could actually be open to the possibility of it being real in our world. But what could that be? One day I was talking to Kevin about it and he told me to write something that totally freaks me out and is believable. Right after he said that, I didn’t have to think about what freaked me out. I knew what it was.

The Exorcist.

My mom used to play that damn movie over and over again, and it wasn’t during the day when she’d play it. Oh no. It was at nighttime, when I had to go to bed. And Mom was the type of person who had to have the TV blaring so loud; you could hear it throughout the house. I’d be trying to go to sleep and hear that freaky-ass music and the demon talking through Regan. I slept with my light on for a year after that. I also had nightmares about it for years, to where I’d wake up in the middle of the night with my heart pounding painfully in my chest, and my whole body felt like it was incased in a block of ice. So yeah, that’s what freaks my shit out.

Once I had that idea in my mind, I started getting busy on, Beyond the Eyes. I tried writing an outline for it, but outlines just don’t work for me. I do a rough character sketch though, but sometimes, like with Tree, characters appear out of thin air, and I have to write them in. So I started writing the story, and things began to evolve all on its own that pleasantly surprised me. I also wasn’t planning on making, Beyond the Eyes a series, but it turns out that this story could go on and on and on, like The Vampire Diaries, which by the way, I LOVE that show. Although, I was really upset when they killed off Jenna last season. I almost made a vow  not to watch it again. Almost. However, I love the show too much to boycott it.

Back to the point of this post before my mind does a continuous loop back on The Vampire Diaries, and ends up hijacking the rest of this post.

Years ago, I read that J.K. Rowling said the idea for her Harry Potter series fell into her head. Now don’t get me wrong. I’d never equate what I wrote to J.K. Rowling. I mean, she’s a brilliant writer, and a genius. I think she’s in a class all by herself. But I do understand what she was talking about. And let me tell ya, that rush of creativity is so fun, it makes up for the blood, sweat, and tears you put into the story. When you get into that ‘zone’, you never know what’s going to happen. The same goes for dialog. Half the time, I don’t even know what the character’s are going to say, and then it’ll come to me. It’s crazy. But the thing is, it works. It’s not bullshit, half ass, dialog. It fits the situation and the character’s persona. There’s this one line I absolutely love that Nathan says to Paige:

"I can’t bear to see such woes of the heart in the eyes of my beloved."

I don’t know where that line came from, but it’s fitting for Nathan’s character because of where he came from.

I was just thinking maybe this happens to us writers because we put ourselves into the story. We become our characters and live in their world. It makes sense. At least to me it does. But regardless of how it happens, it’s still awesome. It’s almost like magic. So I better get busy on my next chapter to Dark Spirits, and see what kind of cool, magical thing(s) will take place in that chapter.

Oh, by the way. Right before every chapter I write, I do have an idea on what’s going to happen. I may not have a physical outline, but I do have one internally. I don’t blindly start each chapter, not knowing what to write. I do know, but sometimes the pulse of the story beats faster, pumping amazing information to me that I cannot ignore. And that is one of the coolest things about writing.

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