Monday, January 10, 2011


These past few weeks, whenever I tried to write, I found myself obnoxiously stuck in a syrup spill. However, this weekend served as a catalyst to help break me loose.

You see, I have never written a novel before. Thus, I have no honed techniques. No method that helps me to write. I just imagine and then write. And sometimes this works, but as of late, I have been forgetting the imagining part, which has led to no writing.

This weekend, instead of sitting and staring at the computer screen and writing nothing, I took to writing short bios about my characters. Kind of a chronology of how their stories evolve prior to and throughout the book. This led to a moderately detailed outlining of what is going to take place and a pretty extensive back story laid out.

I feel rejuvenated. I have a resurgence of creativity. My imagination has been reawakened. And the story and characters are becoming more vivid and colorful with every daydream. Equaling a lot more excitement.

The story is written from the POV of Jaylee, my MC (like my writer lingo?). Her story has always been very clear and the most simple. It is the characters that surround her that make her story possible, but without understanding them, there is just a flat plot line and a silly girl with codependence issues. Jaylee is easy to identify with, because she is like us, the readers. And she is telling the story, so there is not much about her that we aren't privy to. We know who she is and what drives her forward. As she dives into the heart of the story she will become more complex, but she can't achieve this without the other people along the way.

The other people. The people who aren't just high school students, but individuals from a slightly fantasized world. Who are these people and where do they come from? What motivates their stories? There in lies the one question that had to be answered. Without a motivation the story would just be a series of events dawdling to get to their meaningless end. Characters with an attempt at clever dialogue but who are overall completely vapid. And where there are no entertaining characters--no matter how great the plot sounds--you will still have a lackluster story.

In books, often times we are just given a character plucked out of their lives so we can see this brief period of their existence. Throughout the story we are provided with small glimmers of where they come from. These small glimpses are evidence that the character exists beyond the 350 pages of the story. They have a life, a past and most likely a future. For the reader, all we have is what is written, what is provided. But if well done, that should be enough, because we should be able to imagine the rest. We don't need to be told what kind of cake they had for their 6th birthday party, but we probably can guess whether or not they had a clown.

Up until now, I have only been seeing what is given. What I have given. But the reality is that these characters are mine. I am writing and imagining them. I should know what kind of cake they had at their party. I should know what kind of shampoo they use, their favorite brand of jeans, how they wear their hair, how they take their coffee, boxers or briefs, cats or dogs, their favorite movie, first kiss, can they cook, do they read the paper, what size shoe do they wear, their favorite book, etc.

Other than Jaylee, I hadn't even been able to decide what color hair they had. But if I had only stopped to answer a few basic questions, I would have had no doubt that the boy I planned to have dark hair is actually a blond. And that simple change makes all the difference in who he is and how his story will evolve.

Anyway, not to bore you too much longer with this long post, I think I am finally getting to the point.

I have less than a month until my self imposed deadline and last week I spent a better portion of my time watching movie trailers and videos on YouTube. I was like my characters, unmotivated. This week, I am ready to write again. Ready to have writing be my life. Ready to zone out with thoughts of Jaylee and her companions, Rune and Isaac. Ready to let my imagination run so wild that even I will be surprised.

I have discovered what motivates them and drives them forward, now I need to use that do just the same.

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