I woke up this morning with thoughts of meatloaf and a novella running through my head. The meatloaf, because I’m hungry for it. Hungry enough that I’ll make it for supper tonight. The novella, because the juices are stewing again. My story is taking on life.
I’ve been away from writing for a while. I worked on serious rewrites before the holidays. That’s a form of writing, and one I usually enjoy. This time, though, it was the third time through a manuscript I’ve lost all perspective on, I’ve looked at it so much. But rewrites are different than sitting in front of a blank computer screen and asking myself, How do I bring this story to life?
The first time I asked myself that question, I only got a sorry, “this might work,” nothing that excited me solution. If it didn’t excite me, it sure wasn’t going to entice a reader. The second time, I didn’t fare much better. Had my creativity flown the coop? Taken a vacation? I always panic for a minute and wonder if my writing skills are infinite or finite. Can I use them up? I could have wrestled some ideas to make them work, but more often than not, that shows. It’s a bare-boned attempt, driven by plot points with not enough flesh or emotion. The spark never really clicks, and the scene falls as flat as the lack of inspiration.
My brain wasn’t built to go from zero miles an hour to ninety. It was just warming up. That’s when I give it more time to play. This was the third story in a series that I based on the setting in Fabric of Life, one of my novels. So I thought back to the characters I’d created. Usually, when I think about them–how they interact, what they want, what they’re doing in their world–ideas start percolating. I know the main plot of the story before I ever start, but the journey from point A to point Z is driven by my characters and the decisions they make. And this morning, before I opened my eyes, I could see Sheri getting ready to play her keyboard at the Fourth of July celebration in Emerald Hills. Her nephew and his wife are saving her a spot on their blanket to watch the fireworks. She’s looking forward to seeing old friends and having a picnic, but I know Fate has lots more in store for her. She’s in for lots more than she bargained for. And now, I can’t wait to start writing.
(Here’s a link for the first Emerald Hills novella, More Than Bonbons: it’s available at amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, smashwords, and more)