Ok, so I’ve become far too drab and depressed lately. People are going to get a bad impression of me. True in the world of Disney’s Inside Out I’m probably controlled by Sadness at the helm, but like Riley I like to think Joy is not too far away from the control panel.
So let’s talk about something meaningful: my favorite part of writing. What is it that keeps me coming back? First off, I’m a fantasy writer by default. And I enjoy writing YA. Keep these facts in mind as I continue, haha.
The #1 part about writing that I love the most would definitely have to be creating the characters. All writers do it differently. What comes first: the plot or the characters (kinda like asking chicken or the egg)? For me and the Weaver Reborn it was definitely the characters. It’s usually the characters. I have a slew of characters in my head that are just dying to have a plot of their own.
I love personalities. I love wondering how people will react. Even better, with writing the characters that we portray have to be larger than life. More exaggerated. And the best characters are the ones that are flawed. While I do believe in do-gooders (Maxine, my character, probably being one of them) there still has to be a balance. No one is perfect and sometimes the best intentions end in the worst tragedies.
Let’s face it, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn character would not be half as interesting if the character wasn’t so deliciously messed up, but deep down there’s that wonderful nugget of gold.
And I think they are what makes or breaks a book for me. I’ve read some horrible plots that were good because of the characters (Robert Jordan’s Eye of the World was this for me… I’m prepared to be flogged now). I’ve also read some wonderful plots that were made bad because of the characters (Splintered by A.G. Howard… well, ok, the second and third books, and only the main character. Everyone else was interesting but Alyssa was a Mary Sue through and through).
#2: Visualizing storylines. Come on. If you’re a writer you know you’ve done it. Sitting there reading… or maybe watching a movie trailer. And suddenly you think “But what if this happened instead…” Visualizing the storyline and following its path sometimes feels like I’m an adventurer discovering the story and not creating it. And I love the moment of the “click”. That moment when I know it’s right. It’s exciting and thrilling. I’ve wasted whole books worth of scenarios for just The Weaver Reborn alone. Things that just didn’t make the cut. Hours spent writing and cutting. Do I feel it was hours wasted? No. Because for the love of all that’s holy, some of those failures were some of the best writing moments I’ve ever had. Maybe I cut because it didn’t work for the rest of the story, or maybe it was too much character pandering. Who knows. I just know I had a lot of fun writing it at the time.
#3: Surreal moments. Plenty of these and they come in many forms. Having spent two weeks stuck on a chapter, a glitch in my story, and then one day I’m in the shower and suddenly: GASP! I have figured it out. And not only have I figured it out but it makes so much incredible sense for my story and solves other future problems that it’s like “why didn’t I think of this before?” It’s like God has reached down and provided me inspiration. But seriously, God is too busy than to bother with a simple writer like me and her plot writing woes. Doesn’t He have, like, world hunger to solve?
Or maybe one of those moments that you have spent writing and you look up only to realize that four hours have passed. (I swear Elemental Remus of Time is toying with me…) It sometimes feels like you’re waking up from a dream. You realize you’ve forgotten that you are a “self”. Doing mediocre things such as standing up and walking surprises you (and realizing suddenly that you have a full bladder and you’re scrambling to the bathroom).
I have never been high in my life. I’ve decided I have no interest in doing so and doubt that I need to. I think these surreal moments are probably what it’s like to come down off of a high. And I’ve done something productive in my high. I’ve created a novel that others will be able to enjoy.