I love Madonna, but this is not a blog about her music (although she is on my MP3 player).
So what exactly is this blog about? Well, I went to my thoughtful spot and thought and thought and thought… You get the idea. Well, I didn’t come up with anything interesting, so you get a boring blog (you’ve been warned).
Last week at the bimonthly meeting of critiquers, over a bottle of wine (and whine), two kinds of cheese and some crackers, we’d finished catching each other up on our glamorous lives (bon-bons, cruises to exotic locales and royalty checks with lots of zeroes before the decimal point–what can I say, I live a rich fantasy life).
Then we started on the business at hand–looking objectively at each other’s work and offering advice on where to improve the story. Normally, this is the shortest portion of our meeting. Why? Well, we’ve been writing for a while and my two critique partners are published with big NY publishers. We know what we’re doing.
Except when we don’t.
Each of us is starting a new novel, or in my case, was working on the business end such as a back cover blurb for my publisher. As veteran writers, this should be easy. Apparently, no one told us or our easy button is broken. Either way. Somehow we managed to get bogged down in the craft, floundered in the conflict and just plain ignored characterization.
How can this be? This isn’t our first time.
So I began to think of my first manuscript (which none of you will EVER see. NEVER.) Oh what folly is youth and ignorance when I thought writing was easy and I just sat down and wrote. And wrote.
Now, I stare at that blank page with its taunting cursor and think, Spider Solitaire would help get me motivated to write. Or bejeweled blitz. Or Monntezuma’s Revenge (not the one that involves pants around the ankles and a porcelien throne, thank you very much). Because while there is only Chapter One in my book, I have 7 beginning thanks to multiple characters.
I know why I am reluctant to write. Part of me worries, this one won’t be as good as the last one. And the other part of me doesn’t like the possession as I allow the characters to take over my thoughts and hands while they literally show me their world complete with scratch and sniff sensory engagement.
And so the beginnings of the book are always a tug of war between me the writer stupidly thinking I actually tell the story and the characters who think I should just shut up and transcribe their story as they show it to me.
The characters win every time.
Ah well, the story is the better for it and that’s what matters. Just don’t tell the voices in my head I said so:-)