Thursday, March 25, 2010

From the Darker Recesses of My Twisted Psyche...

So, I missed last week's debate. :( There really are no excuses, but at the risk of having Cory Jackson jump out of the bushes and start whipping me with a wet noodle, I will prostrate myself before you all and offer up my sincerest apologies. Sadly, I was no match for green beer and Irish car bombs...so there it is! My excuse. **hides from Cory**

Now, onto this week's topic of lively debate across the internet...from sunny Cali (Debra Driza aka houndrat) to dreary England (Laura McMeeking), today's topic:

Where Stories Come From: From the time you get the idea for a novel to the day you first put your fingers to the keyboard, how does the story come to you? (i.e. and also explore prepping to write your novel)

Another multi-layered question! This is actually (in my mind anyway) one of the most important questions for any author to answer. Where do these strange and wonderful beings that populate our imagination come from? Sorry, Debra but sadly, mine do not come from my butt although that would be fun to say! Conversely, I'd love to be able to reply with a flippant "Your Mom" especially since that is my preferred answer to almost everything.

Really, my characters come from out of nowhere. Seriously. I don't know. It's just one day I'm all by my lonesome, minding my own business...and the next, I'm bombarded by loud and at times, obnoxious voices. Many of them become very real to me...to the point that I might consider them friends or enemies...or both

**sigh**

Most people would call this schizophrenia at its finest. Maybe, they're right. But, I'm not most people. I'm a writer!

So, once at least one character rears his or her ugly (or not so ugly) head, it's time to really put on my thinking cap. Who is this person/thing? What is his/her purpose? Why do I even care about them? That's really the major question right there...cuz if I don't care about them, why should anyone else?

Now, here is where I admit to my biggest flaw. I am the most analytical fiction writer that you may ever meet. I know. Writers, by and large, are a creative group...round pegs in square holes. Me? I'm a square peg with rounded corners. I love creative endeavors but I must have that logical feel to it. Yes, I am a walking contradiction.

That said, it should be no surprise that I am a compulsive outliner/list maker. Once my characters become more than an idea. I compile all the information I can about them, what the do, and where they live. Like my boy Sam Winchester, I live for research. I love it!

Not only do I put together short one page character developments for each of my leads, but I also use note cards and a cork board to sort out main events that I know must be in the story once I hit the actual writing stage. From there, it's outline, outline, outline.

I rock the outlines.

Does that make me a less spontaneous writer? Maybe...but then again, maybe not. I can't tell you how many times a character of mine has gone all kamikaze and gleefully ripped my outline to shreds. Then, being the dutifully neurotic list maker that I am, I make a new one. It's a vicious cycle that I really love.

So there you have it! My less than glamorous take on this week's dissection. Check out the other bloggers on Cory Jackson's blog-a-thon to get a glimpse into their writing processes!

Cory Jackson: Robert Olen Butler’s From Where You Dream
Kate Hart: Stephen King’s On Writing
Jamie Blair: Thomas Monteleone’s The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Writing A Novel
Laura McMeeking: Natalie Naimark-Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
Debra Driza: James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure
Leila Austin: Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird
Sarah Harian: Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey
Jennifer Wood: Sol Stein’s Stein on Writing