Monday, March 24, 2014

~Shhh... I've been having an affair ~


"Ink and paper are sometimes                     passionate lovers, oftentimes brother and sister, and occasionally mortal enemies."

                                        - Emme Woodhull-Bache

Writing is like being in love

There's that first flush...when you come face to face for the first time,
 ( in this case when you first meet your story.)
"Hello" says Mr. Story "How do you do?"
"Hello." I respond with curiosity. "My name is Terri...and you are???"

It doesn't take long before you enter into the 'Giddy' phase. Just like when you first meet your true love it's all you want to talk about. It's certainly all you can think about. And just like new lovers everywhere, you are in a rush to find out everything about them, no detail is too small. In this phase when all the pieces begin to tumble out willy nilly, it's hard to remember that I'm the one writing the story. Because in the beginning, I feel like an observer. All the facts are simply being REVEALED to me.

Unfortunately at some point you have your first fight... it's a difficult blow when you realize you don't understand one another after all. What were you thinking? You ask yourself. You might be ready to throw in the towel.
But then you kiss and make up.

The words on the page become your love song. Sweet nothings whispered in your ear. Sometimes I've made a spectacle of myself as the right words have taken me by surprise. I dance around the room with a big goofy grin on my face, like a sixteen year old that just got asked to the prom.

So I think you get the picture.

But not only am I in love, but sometimes it's like I'm having an affair. I sneak around and write a line or two or jot down my notes with every spare moment I can snatch from the day. I'm constantly writing secret love notes. Or recording some random bit of dialogue on my phone to capture later.
"What are you doing?" asks innocent Hubbs
"Nothing....nothing. Pay no attention to me." I say with a guilty grin.

Yes, it's quite obvious to anyone who is looking.
 I'm having an affair with my writing.

Monday, March 3, 2014

~ The Good, The Bad & The Ugly ~

           "You take people, you put them on a journey, 
           you give them peril, you find out 
          who they really are. "
                                                   -Joss Whedon

Character development. 

Here is where the Good, the Bad and the Ugly comes in to play. Even my darling hero/heroine has flaws. I shouldn't cover them up or sweep them under the rug. The flaws are what humanize characters. I have learned to embrace their imperfections, and allow my character to
  G  R   O   W. 

When Kate first whispered her story to me (while in my bathtub, over a year and a half ago) I knew I liked her right from the start. I loved the fact that she was 'every girl '. Not too perfect. Pretty, but not gorgeous. She often thought of a splendid retort, hours after an embarrassing incident. In other words, she was a girl every one could relate to.


 And it was important that she remain that way throughout the story. As an author one can become so intimately involved with our characters, it's sometimes hard to watch them get kicked around. But it's important that they don't always win at everything ... because hey, that's life. 

So I had to fight my instinct to protect Kate. I had to let her fail a time or two. But in the end it makes for a stronger character and a better story. It's up to my reader to discover the character for themselves. And in that discovery, they will either fall in love ... or they won't. That is the beauty of reading. For how do you know that the ending is fitting...if you haven't been on the entire journey, page by page?

Likewise, I let my reader follow a trail of breadcrumbs that allow them to take a small peek into the mind of my hero's nemesis. Even if the antagonist's logic is flawed, in their little world they have a reason for their behavior. The evil villain in a cartoon, is just that...a cartoon. REAL people have many layers.

In my current novel, The Bootlegger's Wife, 
there are plenty of flaws and weaknesses to go around. But hopefully the characters are lovable in spite of them...or perhaps... BECAUSE of them. 

But that,dear friends,will be for you... to tell me!