Sunday, July 14, 2013

How do you write?

This was asked more than once on different communities on G+ about writing in general:

 I would love to have some thoughts on some aspect of your writing process: character development, story/plot mapping, etc.

Well, on first thought not as easy to answer for me as it seems. See, I don't plan my books and stories. I just write them. So, I questioned myself on these things about writing. 

"But you must have some idea about what you want to write?"

Yes, I do. I mainly get the ideas for my stories while I'm sleeping, dreaming. I don't dream the stories in words. It's the images, emotions that stick. To put that into words forms a story. Or two.

"So, the stories are always about you?"

NO, not at all. Sure, some traits of my character and personality do come through in the stories. Very often though it's how I am NOT. Maybe, how I want to be. Usually a completely different character than me. It's more like listening to some people telling you about their life and then you write that down in your own words.

"Ah, more like writing biography. Packed in a nice story."

Yes, I guess you could call it that. Not a full biography though. Only one event or experience that deemed important to be remembered and passed on. It can be the story of just one day, a few weeks - or a lifetime to tell this relevant topic.

"All drama then. With tension and action."

Hahaha, not all of life and life changing events are dramas. Some can be very subtle little things. Like waking up one morning and noticing the warmth of the sun on your face shining in through the window. A phrase overheard while riding the bus to work. A smell that makes you recall memories long forgotten. All these things can make lovely stories too.

"No drama at all; no action? You know, like in the movies?"

Some stories might have drama, action too. If it helps to get the point across I will write it that way. But most of my stories are on the happy side. The nice things that happen to you. Finding friends when you feel alone, being accepted for what you are and treated with full respect, tackling difficult situations and not being crushed by them. There is so much happiness and positive things in the world. Why neglect them and only write about the bad and ugly; the horror and drama and sad things. No needed to add to all that "negative" stuff around us. Sure it's there, but it won't go away when we focus on it so much. See it, change it (or do your best to change it) and be happy. Life is for living and loving, not mourning and being depressed.

?

I'm not saying my characters are happy all the time and don't feel sad or anxious. They do. But they don't get stuck in those feelings. They actively (there you have the action) do something about how they feel. And it can get them into tricky and dangerous situations too.

"OK, I think I get how your characters are. But what about the plot, the development of the story?"

Well, I start writing with the emotion of my character in mind. Of how they feel in the main situation I'm writing about. So far, I do start at the beginning of the book and write it through until the end; just as you would be reading it. Not a later episode first and then some earlier stuff. I tried that once and I got all muddled up, repeating things I already had written about but in the wrong order. While editing the story, I might add a paragraph or move it around a bit. But mainly the story develops as I write it. Not after a plan. Sometimes I'm surprised myself at how the story ends differently from what I had in mind when I started out. But the overall message it has doesn't change.

"And there is always a happy end?"

A happy end or more often an open end. Life doesn't stop just because you managed to go through a situation. The character surely will have more such events to go through in his or her life. But it's not important to that one story about him/her.

"Doesn't it get boring to write this same kind of plot of mastering a situation, successfully?"

No, not at all. As each person in the world is unique so are my stories about them. They are all written in different styles and genres. Not one label for all to place them under.

"All the stories are then based on live on Earth. In a kind of world you live in as well."

Those are the easiest to write. No need to "invent" words for things that don't exist. But I do write stories about other beings too. Like the one in "Forgotten". That was very hard to write as those beings actually don't have gender like humans have. Or don't use names. I had to come up with something to describe this and pack it into a story a reader can relate to. I'm not sure if I succeeded in that fully. From the feedback I received I know some people find it heard to think outside of human gender when reading about other beings.

"So you do world building in some of your stories. How?"

World building is such a big word. I don't built a world. I dive into the one I conceived. I paint a picture of the landscape and living situations with my words. Like an artist creates a landscape on canvas with paint and other materials. Just as every being is unique so is the world they live in. It may touch the one you live in. Or be completely different. So different that you don't understand it.

"No planned character development, no plot mapping, no world building. Don't you think about the readers?"


I, as author, don’t write for a certain audience. or readers. I write for everyone, knowing that many will not really understand what I'm writing about; and may, or may not, enjoy reading my stories. If the reader can dive into the story and have the same images in mind as I had when writing it, great. If not, well, there will always be other stories to read and write.


I think, this sum sit up quite nicely. And as I get dreams every night, sometimes even more than one, I guess, I won't run out of ideas for stories. Or ideas for creative paintings. ;-)

Relaxing and thinking about what to do next.