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Saturday, August 03, 2013

Leap of Faith

White Spotlights Stock Photo

Leap of Faith 

That's what every piece of writing is, from column-writing to novels. The writer starts out with the smallest germ of an idea and let's it shape itself into what it wants to be. Of course, with columns and essays, the point is to say as much as you can in the fewest amount of words. As a mentor once told me, "you spend words as if they were dollars" in any short piece.

Book-length fiction allows for more room to roam and explore your subject matter and characters. My own novels always begin with one first name that lodges itself into my brain - Magic and Cole, Rafe and Ethan, Shea and now, Luca.

It's like the spotlight pictured above, I don't know who is going to step out on that stage until they appear out of the darkness and pick up the microphone. For instance, my latest character, Luca, is a native of Romania (and he is NOT a vampire). Huh, Romania? I don't know anything about Romania and was never especially curious to know either. Now Luca lives in Terrebone Parish in Louisiana near the Atchafalaya Basin in Cajun country. More research. Geez, why don't any of my book people ever live on a farm in Indiana, a locale I know a lot about? 

I am often rather spellbound by the process of writing. There is no way I'm telling my characters' stories, rather they are telling their own stories through me. I often wonder where they came from, how they sprang full-blown into my head with such definite ideas. 

I never write from an outline or have any idea of a known-in-advance plot. "Just trust us," say Rafe and Shea and Luca, "we'll guide you to your destination and tie everything up in a bow at the end."

And I have learned to do that. At first, I sometimes fought with them, trying to drag down them down a path I thought was the right one. My way always lead to deadends or unrealistic outcomes so I gave up and admitted that I was, essentially, a transcriptionist.

But I still marvel at where they existed before they made themselves known to me. They have to somehow be a part of me, don't they?  I wish I knew how that process works....but I guess I should just be grateful that it does.


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