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:~: Wednesday, June 28, 2006 :~:

Various writing-related musings

I'm on vacation, visiting the cabin we own near Yosemite, CA. It took me a few days to relax, but I finally got into the swing of it. I'm often afraid to slow down for fear I might never get back into gear again.

Reading & storytelling:
I started reading a new book, although I had no inclination even though it was written by one of my favorite authors--Kat Martin. But, it was either read or work on my revisions for Safe. That was an easy choice.

I already knew I was difficult to please as a reader since I started writing, but I discovered as I started this book, that I really like the hero/heroine to meet early on in the book--something I would have never guessed would be important to me considering I often have my h/h meeting later (not really late--usually chapter 2 or 3). I was worried at first--too much telling, too much backstory we didn't need, characters a little too tired, used a little too often, very little unique about them. Just about the time I was ready to give up, chapter 5 (much longer than I give authors who I don't already know), she hooked me and I read straight through to 13 until my eyes wouldn't stay open any longer.

Isn't it interesting how we all have our own idea of what constitutes the correct pace and information delegation in a story? Our individual storyteller flow, I suppose. I'm thinking that the more in-tune your flow is with today's audience, the closer you will be to a sale.

Having said that these characters seemed a little...over baked...something that has been stewing in my mind for a while now bubbled to the surface. If you give your characters sufficient provocation, adequate history for their actions or emotions, you could get away with...well, murder. I believe that if your character's are drawn out well enough (backstory, conflict, characterization), so well that your reader can empathize with them--what it must have been like, was it might be like to walk in their shoes, what might the reader done in the same situation--you could get the reader to follow your characters (cheering all the way) to the ends of the earth.

Or at least through a trilogy.

Whenever I come up to the cabin, my mind drifts to a story I lined out last summer. The untamed setting, the natural beauty, leads me to a complex chase through a National forrest. H/h running from a corrupt sheriff after witnessing a murder at a local mini-mart. I think of a city girl forced to run with an experienced outdoorsman, forced to trust him with her life...

I could go on for about 10 pages...but my point is that various settings always bring to mind new, fresh story ideas for me.

Some people say they always start with plot, then the characters come alive or audition for the part. Others say their characters are vivid in their mind and the plot comes from them.

For me, ideas come from every direction. I don't start with any one element. Things come to me at random. A newspaper article on the screwup of a homeless man's murder has me considering a murder thriller with a corrupt forensic lab. A character taunts me to find the worst possible situation and test her or him. A setting ripe for conflict urges me to dump my h/h into the middle of it with five different entities chasing them.

Often I think...no way could I work a ST out of this. But sometimes one element is so strong, I try and twist and manipulate. Sometimes it blossoms into substance, sometimes not. When not, I find that I often piece several ideas together in a belated ah-ha moment.

My time at the library computer is over. But I'd love to hear some of your musings...any thoughts at all.

Open forum!


Blogger Paty Jager said...

Almost every book has come from one thing that sparked my imagination, then the characters start developing and by the time they have told me who wants to start the story, I've decided how it will end.

Everything in between comes as I write.

See Eli - I'm not a plotter! I start then I get all my plot lined out! LOL

9:28 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...


I had a new story idea come to me in the past few days, only for some reason, it's not RS, which is what I write. I mean, I've never written anything else! I think this one would lend itself better toward erotica - an unplanned tryst at a vacation resort and the aftermath in the real world. Only problem is, I don't write erotica, so I have no clue how this even popped into my head. I've been playing with the idea the past few days, and I'm sure it will somehow morph into an RS, I just have to figure out how.

Although I'm still determined to write the WIP that I've only just started.

So many ideas...

4:56 PM  

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