Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Veins of Writing

Each vein has connections in this grape leaf, from the big structures to the little bitty increments.

This past week, I was asked if I imagined/wrote backstory on the characters in my fiction. Why yes, I do, at least for the novel-length fiction. Not as deeply for the short fiction, but there is still some time spent in thought about the characters, why they do what they do, and where they came from, and ... what do they like to wear as clothing and what do they like to eat and how do they talk to their friends?

You have to track those characters down and follow them to know about them, follow the veins and see who they've contacted, examine those contacts to see where they have been and what they are bringing to a story -- and write it down. Remember it in notebooks and in your heart. Don't fall into the pit of "Yeah, tomorrow I'll start to write this story" -- by tomorrow it will be diluted in your memory. WRITE IT DOWN, NOW. Or start typing and save the idea in a .doc file.

When your network of characters begins to link up, and the story takes off, the feeling is like that of riding a jet-ski into the sparkling waters of a summer morning. Kick it into high gear, and let your characters fly!

And you know, if you never get published, you still have the pleasure -- and it is a pleasure -- of following your characters into their stories.

No one in the world gives a crap about whether the leaf in the picture is part of a plant that bears award-winning grapes, or whether it is destined for a Greek dish, or is simply a backyard topiary. But the fact is, it grows, all the same, and it's beautiful.

Let your writing grow.

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