Monday, November 16, 2015

A Writer's Inner Voice

Yesterday, as I walked past the table by my bed which is piled with books, I noticed an envelope with some scribbling on it sticking out of one of the books. As soon as I picked it up I remembered that a few nights ago, in the middle of the night, I had a bright idea. The book I am working on is a bit more intense than most of my work—at least in my Marienstadt series—and I had been trying to imagine how to wrap it all up.

The writing on the envelope was barely legible but I really only just needed a reminder for the idea to come back to me. Frankly, I had forgotten all about it and if I hadn't scribbled that note, a really good idea would have gotten away. I hadn't even turned on the light—I just grabbed a pen and the first piece of paper I found, which turned out to be the envelope a card came in. I scratched it out and went back to sleep.

The entire story in this book takes place in the month of December and it ends on Christmas Eve. There are a number of characters in the story and I was having trouble figuring how I could bring them all together in a way that would be logical, answer a few questions, and have a sweet, joyful end. The idea I had was to not bring them all together, but rather to write a series of vignettes that would show how each of them was spending Christmas Eve. I started work on it last night and I think it is going to be good. People are in love or getting there, a baby is on the way, a couple who were worried about how they would manage Christmas have a wonderful surprise. I'm really enjoying this and I think my readers will, too.

The mind of a writer is a strange place. I find that I need a lot of alone and quiet time to let the ideas in. Sometimes when I am juggling too many projects that isn't easy. I have to let myself not do anything for awhile.

I've learned to pay attention when something nags at me, when it just doesn't feel right. I try to make note of that and file it away until I can find a solution. Yesterday something about one of the character's names was nagging at me. I couldn't think what it was until finally, while washing dishes, it came to me—all the “bad guys” names began with the same letter. I have to fix that today.

The Legend: A Marienstadt Story might be ready for Christmas—I'm not sure yet. But I think it is a powerful story about one man's quest to find a horse that was taken from its owner. I've learned a lot about horses working on this story—and about some very unsavory people. I never knew anything about horse slaughter, kill-buyers, and very little about dogfighting. It hasn't been easy and I've had to work to balance the horrors with a lot of goodness. I hope it works.

Thanks for reading.

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