Sunday, December 8, 2013

~ Tote That Barge, Lift That Bale ~

Writing novels, to me, is basically a kind of manual labor.The whole process - sitting at your desk, focusing your mind like a laser beam, imagining something out of a blank horizon, creating a story, selecting the right words, one by one, keeping the flow of the story on track - requires far more energy, over a long period, than most people ever imagine. You might not be moving your body around, but there's grueling, dynamic labor going on inside you.
                                            - Haruki Murakami

Hey, don't get me wrong I'm not complaining. If ever there was a LABOR of love, this is it.
But I sometimes think that people assume that one just sits down at their computer and words flow like magic from their fingers. Not so, my fine friends. 

Writing is work, and lots of it. Once a little story line presents itself to you, that is where the trouble begins. You must become a detective, finding out all about your characters, discovering their inner secrets, fears and dreams. This can be a daunting task as some characters are notoriously tight lipped.

You must research their world and know everything about them, even details that will never see the light of day in your story. 

You must plot the story line and have an idea of the ebb and flow, the arc, let alone breaking that all down into individual scenes. If there's research to be done, you dig and dig until you are sure you are presenting an accurate picture. 

Then you begin the writing, staring at a blank page and willing the story to come to life. I'm always nervous to get started,  to get those first words down on the page, to see them, to hear them as I read them aloud.

And then you must be flexible enough to allow the story to you're writing it. That is the joy of writing....those are the moments you live for. When something beautiful happens and your fingers are flying over the keys as if possessed by the spirit of the story. 

 I have likened it to the art of pulling taffy. Pushing, pulling, working it until it becomes something smooth and shiny and in the end hopefully a tasty morsel to savor as the sweetness takes its time.

Taffy anyone?



  1. Another wonderful post! Reminds me of the old adage, "write what you know." It works for your characters, as well. You have to know your characters inside out before you can write them, although as in life, they sometimes surprise you. Writing character profiles bores me to tears but I'm learning pretty quickly how important they are!

    1. Thank you my friend. It's not easy as we know....but oh when it comes together ( as we hope and pray it will) there is nothing like it !!! It's a learning process every day and I have soooooo much to learn. :)


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