Friday, May 6, 2016

How deep are you willing to go?

(photo from Google search)

After the A-Z, you'd think I'd take a huge step back and a big, deep breath from writing. That's been the case in other years but this year I've jumped in and started with a new vigor. Something about writing every day struck home with me. As I mentioned in Wednesday's Post, I recently read Natalie Goldberg's "The True Secret of Writing" and it got me back on the writing practice wagon. What a relief it is to be writing again.

It sounds funny when you say it. If it's such a relief, why do we stop in the first place? Fear of failure, yes. Fear of not finishing yet ANOTHER book/story/essay, oh yeah. And it's scary to think once a story is told we may be out. Finished. Kaput. Nada else in the old vaults. That's silly, really, especially if you could see my computer files and physical stack of files, folders, spiral notebooks, and binders FILLED with not just novel summaries and partially written essays but LISTS and GOBS of ideas and titles and series (yes SERIES) ideas I've collected throughout the past 20 YEARS. That's how long I've clung to this writing dream. I remember sitting down at a makeshift desk when I was 18 and writing my first serious story. It is an absolutely TERRIBLE draft but it's THERE, in the flesh and ink and that first taste of Stack of Paper with Title did something to me.

Now that I'm back, I've been asking myself a very hard question: How DEEP am I willing to go? Sounds ominous, sure, but Stephanie Scott said something VERY interesting in a comment on Wednesday's post. She told me that she freewrites in her character's voices, away from the main story, letting the character dictate where the Stream of Consciousness goes.

I've NEVER thought of doing that. Thanks Stephanie!!

I've been doing Stream of Consciousness writing off and on since I (finally) finished college three years ago. My favorite professor's first assignment was for us to do SoC writing everyday during the entire semester. It was liberating! Now that I'm back in the practice (there's that word again...) I realize just how deep SoC can potentially go.

It's like swimming in the sea. You can stay on the surface and still get wet, but what if you dived down, down, down to the sandy bottom and dug your hands into whatever it is that's waiting? You can't see, the water's murky (I live by the Atlantic, not the Caribbean) and it'd burn your eyes anyhow. What will you uncover? What will come up with you? What could wriggle out and tag along, back to the surface, nibble your fingers. Bite. Sting. Pursue?

Scary, huh? And yet THAT'S where the best stories are, on the bottom on that proverbial sea. It's a bit terrifying, I'll admit, to take a tale and SCUBA my way into it, feel the slime, get tangled in the sea weed. Confront the possibilities of dragons in the deep.

Am I really willing to dive THAT deep? Every character. Every story. Just to see how far they are wiling to go to let me into their world, a world that is, to some extent, of my making?

Are YOU?

Tell me! I want to know.

PS: Happy Mother's Day to all you Mom's out there! Thank you for all you do! Be you Human Mama or Fur Mama (like me) or both, you're a blessing and a gift and don't you forget it!


  1. That's quite an interesting technique. I don't free write too much, but I do often free talk, letting the character have his or her say. Different modality, but it helps me.

    I'm not a real dragon, but as you know having stopped in at The Write Game, I adore them and write about them. Thanks for the visit. Please return. I appreciate new visitors a lot.

    1. I've done some free talking too. It's so much fun to really get into the character and "hear" how they'd say something or how they'd act out something.

      You're welcome for the visit! I adore dragons as well and I'll definitely return. Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. Earlier in my writing career I did write long passages in the voices of different characters. I remember reading that JK Rowling wrote full biographies for her characters. However, as I have progressed as a writer I've let characters start telling their own stories within the story. Actually, I'm sort of stuck on the current WIP so maybe some free-writing would do the trick.


    1. Wow! Entire biographies! Now that's commitment (and that's why her world is so real). I'm still in the note taking stage of my WIP but as soon as I get all those pieces of paper transferred over to my computer (arduous process) I'm giving character freewriting a go!

      Happy weekend!

  3. ALWAYS for main characters. Even secondary characters. That's one thing people seem to like about my stories, how unique and individual the characters are--and that's why. They are true, living entities. I actual go through the book from each character's perspectives in one of my edits to deepen the whole work. Looking forward to that stage with my current WIP. It's coming soon, and that's seriously one of the most rewarding edits. The deeper the better.

    1. I LOVE that! That has to make the book so much more real for you and for your readers. I just finished a draft on my WIP and realized that the entire first half of the novel is backstory for my MC. Now I really, REALLY know where she's coming from.


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