Monday, January 9, 2012

Why Would I Bother Writing?

I am not surprised to find out that not everyone in the world likes to write.  Personally I have never really understood that.  I have been writing short shorties and silly things since grade school.  High school, though, was when it really became an obsession.  I had a concept for a book and I wrote it about high school kids from a high schooler's perspective.  I did manage to finish it at one point, though it took longer than needed because time would pass I would gain more knowledge and wisdom and emotions.  I would finish something then go back to it and try to evolve it so that it matched my age and interests.  I ripped it apart and tried again college.  I knew the characters, but I had to make them grow up and become more mature, changing them time and again.  Finally I stopped.  I had come to a point where I would never finish because I realized I would never stop growing and learning.  It was an endless pursuit.

Flash forward to the present.  I'm now married, have 2 kids, 2 dogs, a house, a car as well as old therapy bills and enough trauma from living past the rip old age of 18.  I have enough scars now to be able to sit down and pour myself into my writing.  I've laughed with friends, I've cried with my husband, I've guided my children, I've learned to stand up for myself and I've decided who I want to be.  I feel like I have enough steps on the pathway, though I know I have many more steps to go.  I'm finally at a point where I am secure enough in my thoughts and opinions to not have to write and rewrite to evolve my characters beyond infancy.  They too can start from the steps that I'm on.  Granted they will still grow and change but they won't start of in diapers and be rewritten 10 times until they have beards.

The concept of this book came to me when I was 15.  I was in a dark place and had many dark thoughts.  I have a lot in common with my heroine and I'm finally able to write it from a place of survival.  While she still has a long journey ahead of her, I have gotten past a lot of my horror.  I feel for her, which is why I need to drag her through the mud so that she can finally say she survived it too.

I had written a story that involved my concept and my heroine but I was too bogged down in details for the look and feel of the main location.  I also didn't know what was going to happen to her in the end.  I honestly haven't even read through it in decades, but have vague recollections.  I needed to start fresh and give her a purpose this time.  I told myself that I didn't have to get caught up in so much unneeded detail.  I had to be able to move the story along.  I always had the paranormal aspect of the story, but didn't even know about the romance part of it.  Not until I learned about romance.

I had left my heroine rotting for years, almost 16 years, until I dug her back up and decided that she needed to be around people again, instead of her prison, both literally and metaphorically speaking.  She was in a prison.  She had been a coping mechanism in my youth, so she had stayed locked away.  Once I let her interact with people, or more specifically men, that's when she took off.  So for the last 7 years or so I have allowed her to develop in my mind.  Whenever I was bored and needed a break from life, I would try and figure out what she was doing.  Overtime I gave her a back story and more people to interact with and before I knew it, I had a concept worth writing about.

Now putting words on a paper, or typing them, it easy enough.  The scary part is accepting that you are actually committing to someday having people read it.  I hated showing anyone my writing since I thought they would lock me up.  Teenagers shouldn't be envisioning Hell.  They have special medications for that.  So before I even wrote a single, new, word down, I had to get a general consensus from my family and friends.  Was I nuts to think I could do this?  Would I be condemned?  Would anyone be willing to read it?  I wasn't sure of the answers.

I asked my husband if he thought I should do it.  He responded with, "I'm surprised that you haven't already."  Check that box.  I asked a few friends who may have internally thought I was crazy, but were positive and encouraging.  Next box checked. Then the biggest test was my mother.  Everyone has mother issues, there wouldn't be therapists if they didn't.  She had read my original writings and never seemed to understand what I had written or support it.  I figured she would be the test that counted, after all, we all care about what our mothers think about us, even if we scream to the world that we don't really care.  Secretly, we do.  In my mother's typical short answer style she said, without any surprise in her voice, "Well that's what you were meant to do.  You were meant to be a writer."  Holy crap.  Positive feedback from my toughest critic.  Even if she never reads the books, I know that she will tell people that her daughter writes books.  Even if I never publish a word, she will still believe in me.  Wow.  I still get choked up about it.  Final test passed.

iPad.  I try really hard to remember what had happened and get it down the next day.  Sometimes it's better than what I thought up other times I'm mad I couldn't just Tivo my brain and work it out from there.

Sitting as my desk and coming up with these amazing characters and conversations has been a joy to me, but apparently from the perspective of my son, it seems boring.  He doesn't understand how I could sit here for hours typing away.  Too much work for him.  Though he has decided to write his own stories, something you would've had to tie him to the desk and glue a pen to his hand to accomplish prior to this.  He writes about the puppy that we got and the misadventures of his demon dog.  He still thought that I was crazy.  While he's not allowed to read my stories,but I told him about a character that I had created and how creepy and gross it was.  He's into monsters and mild horror like Goosebumps and adventures like Percy Jackson.  I explained how difficult it was to kill this thing.  He proceeded to come up with ways that he would kill it, should it ever cross his path.  I gave him a star for originality and may actually use his idea as a side note from one of the characters fighting it, should he ever come across one again. 

My son started asking me what else I had come up with.  I told him about the other characters and monsters and he was fascinated.  He kept asking questions and trying to come up with solutions.  He wants to kill one of my unkillable creatures and is insisting that it dies.  I'm resisting him but I may have to give in eventually.  Half way through our monster expo he looked at me and said, "I had no idea that you could come up with stuff like this.  I saw you sitting and staring at the screen and typing away and thought that you must be really bored doing what your doing.  I had no idea that it could be this fun."  I was surprised.  I felt that even if this project doesn't take off for one reason or another, at the bare minimum, I have shown my son that writing doesn't have to be tedious and boring. It can be whatever you have an interest in and whatever your mind can create.

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