Really!! My talent is being able to type fast enough to record the story!!
There are two styles of creativity. Different processes, but both create awesome results. We don’t chose the way we create. I think style is linked directly to our imaginations.
One type of writer plans and outlines the entire story. The beginning, middle and ending are thought out carefully before any writing begins.
I am the other type. Sometimes I suffer from, and other times I am ecstatic to have, the “gotta write” disease. Stories seem to float around me, looking for a way to hook into my brain. Once they find an opening, I have no choice but to write them down.
This amazing painting by Josephine Wall illustrates my idea.
The Muse sends stories out into the world. They are trapped inside the bubbles until someone writes them down.
Once a story creates a link with me, I can delay starting for a few days but eventually I have no choice but to sit down and start writing.
Goes along something like this –
The first day the story introduces itself politely. Then walks away.
The second day it taps me on the shoulder in a friendly way. Stays for a few minutes and leaves.
By the third day it is starting to sound annoyed. It follows me around saying “Just reminding you I’m here waiting!”
If I wait much longer, it gets downright pushy until I cannot think about anything else except the story. It keeps me awake at night poking the synapses of my brain going “write me, write me.”
Writing is my gift and my curse!!
Recording the story is always an exciting process
Once I start, writing one chapter a day (as many as 4,000 words – but usually less) seems enough to make the story happy with me. I can even take the occasional day off. If I take too much time between chapters, I start to lose the thread of the story. (Hence the unfinished novels sitting in my cupboard)
First drafts of my novels take about 6 to 8 weeks.
In the old, old days I sometimes even wrote with pen and paper, although usually with a typewriter. Takes forever to make a clean copy to submit. Then came the word processor which helped a lot. And now, writing and editing are wonderfully easy!!
So how does my link to the story work?
First, I sit down at the keyboard. All I know each day is where to start: the location and which characters are there. It’s like an alternate reality playing out in front of me. All I do is record it as fast as I can. Every day I receive one day’s worth of story. I come back the next day to see what happens next!
The people in my stories are very real and I often argue with them about the choices they make. Once I yelled at a man who walked away.
“You can’t do that!! You’re supposed to stay. You’re supposed to be the one person in her life who doesn’t desert her!”
“Oh, yes I can,” he yelled back. “Just watch me!”
And he walked out the door. (He did come back later when he calmed down )
One novel remains unfinished because I hated what happened next, so I refused to write it down.
During the first chapters, my “vision” is somewhat hazy, like a bad connection. I miss things. But as I keep writing, my view of this other world becomes so strong I have trouble focusing on our reality. My husband knows I won’t remember anything he says, and my friends leave me alone until I finish those final chapters.
Then I am exhausted. Totally tired. Like giving birth. Happy and excited, and wanting to sleep for a month!
After a break, sometimes as long as a year, I start editing my story. This usually takes much longer than writing the original draft. While I write, I always record things I need to add later. Using my notes as a guide, I rewrite and clarify the story. Especially at the beginning, I need more details.
My spelling is terrible without a spell check and I am mildly dyslexic. I flip numbers and letters all the time. Chatting with my granddaughter I wrote I was ploishing my latest novel. We decided we liked this word. Pronounce it pl-ow-ish with a stress on the OW! Polishing a poem, story or term paper is not fun!!
Although I write my stories down, I cannot take much credit for creating them. All through history, creative people refer to the Muses, mythical goddesses with mysterious powers, as the source for their creativity. How well an artist can “court the Muse” determines how creative they can be.
The Muses star in the Disney animated movie, Hercules! And they show up often in the animated series too!!
For more information about the Muses –
I wish I could give you some definitive explanation of how my writing process works but I only know it does. I believe God gave me a talent and wants me to use it. From my point of view – my greatest talent is being able to type fast enough to record the stories that find me and demand to be written!
Please feel free to ask any questions, either by a comment here on my website/blog, or a tweet to @chucklebeary.
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