Friday, January 3, 2014
By Beckie Carlson
Many, many moons ago, back when I used to make it to my ANWA meetings regularly, one of my fellow authors recommended a book to me. The book was called "Writing Down the Bones." It's one of those books that I got all fired up about, bought, looked through, and then placed gently on a shelf. I haven't looked at it for probably a year. Today, while trying to find the top of my desk, I found the book. The book cover was tucked into a spot, like a book mark, so I read it. huh. Funny that I don't remember ever reading that before, but it was definitely something I should read often.
The place marked in the book was called "A Little Sweet." It talks about the joy and peace that writing can bring to a writer. It refers to a Jewish tradition of giving sweets to a child when they learn something so they will 'associate learning with sweetness.' I don't think this has anything to do with the chocolate I like to eat when I write, but maybe..... No, the point is that the sweetness we feel as writers when we write is due to the exercise our soul is getting. It's kind of like when a runner gets a second wind, I think. I don't run, unless I'm being chased by a big dog, the IRS, or zombies. I've heard stories of runners, and other athletes, that get a high from doing their 'thing.' I get a high from writing.
I started a new book last week. I finally had a break from school, work, drama, and the gym. Well, okay, I did actually hit the gym twice, but it was all because my daughter made me, and it was a good thing. Anyway, my brain was relatively free from pressing issues, so I wrote. It was beautiful. My mind felt free to latch onto a story that was drifting through the back windows of my mind and I wrote it down. Not only did I write several chapters, I also wrote an outline and the climax. That's pretty stinking amazing for me.
Truth be told, characters don't always (rarely) stick to the outline you give them. Many a time I have pushed my chair back and said (to no one in particular), "Well, I didn't see that coming...." as my character has taken an unexpected turn. Frustrating? Oh no, that my friend, is what we writers live for. When our characters take on a life of their own and lead us along, feeding us bits of their life....that is when the high comes and the words flow and we are what we call, "in the groove." It's magical.
Cause I said so.
Photo credit: www.theknow.ask.com