Please welcome my friend and crit partner Maripat to My Little World:
I am a Storyteller with a capital ‘S.’ I was once that weird kid that always stared off in class, daydreaming of space aliens taking over the school, while the teacher droned on about the multiplication table.
Sigh. Those were the days because now I have to stretch the what-ifs. Space aliens aren’t as popular. Vampires are everywhere. And everyone has a faery story. (Heh…including me.)
I tend to do things backwards from most writers. I don’t normally see the ‘what-ifs’ first. I see a character. A shy girl, ripped away from her comfortable life, is thrown into political turmoil. A boy that’s desperate to escape his family’s deadly business. A girl filled with guilt goes on a shopping trip.
From there it morphs into a story idea.
Let’s look at my second character, the boy. Why is he desperate? What would he do to escape them? What sort of family problems is there? What is the family business? Are they evil? Is he evil, and are they the good ones?
I have to warn you all, my mind tends to wander toward the odd side of life. Yes, toward fantasy. I’m warped liked that.
I do a LOT of free writing in this phase. To see what’s happening in their world, their lives and their families. The pages just ramble on and on because I don’t know what’s important so I explore everywhere. I’ve probably wiped out a small forest by now with all my free writing. Yes, for me it has to be pen and paper.
When I complete my world building I move on to plotting using a dry erase board. I love my boards and markers. So does my muse. She’s a kid, racing through ideas and notions that might work to manipulate my character to do her bidding.
Yes, it does sound evil. And most days, it is dirty work.
I agree with Val that there are writers and there are storytellers. Some days I wish I were more of a writer. I love to read beautiful prose, but sadly, my muse doesn’t like them. She finds them frivolous. Revising is slow and tedious for me. Sometimes I come across a part of my story, and I can sharpen it to something really pretty. But I struggle with this. I’ve read every how-to edit book I can find. I practice. I give and take critiques. And practice more.
No matter where you fit in on the writing and storytelling, expect to have to learn and relearn techniques. To challenge yourself in order to become the author you want to be. Be prepared for when the muse throws a curve your way. Sooner or later it’ll happen. Not all stories will want to stay with the game plan or the usual writing routine. Be prepared for this to happen. Learn new methods and don’t be afraid to shape them to your muse’s wishes. Listen to her and sh’™ll lead you.
Good luck and good writing to you all.
Maripat Sluyter says this about herself: Iâ€™m a writer, which means I’m slightly crazy. My kids think of me as an ordinary suburban mom/housewife, but as soon as they’re out the door for school, I’m off creating mayhem. If the characters aren’t sporting some new scars at the end of the day–or visiting their shrink–I’ve failed in creating a decent story.
I find writing fun, but I also like walking through graveyards. Yeah–I know. I might not be the best judge of what’s entertaining.
When Iâ€™m not using my godlike powers to destroy a characterâ€™s life, I love to spend time with my husband, two kids and three dogs. Most weekends Iâ€™m dragging my family out to the rural areas of Colorado in search of the perfect picture. Okay, the truth is, I just like seeing where the road takes me.