I’ve been working on my second manuscript and if you are a regular reader of my blog, this really isn’t news. However, this week’s topic is “behind the scenes of my current project” which brings us to, well, my current project.
Let’s reel it in a bit more and answer the question, what goes into inventing a story?
Answer: A BILLION THINGS!
For one, no one’s full time job is writing. Okay, I can think of a few lucky bugs but those people are not living posh lives using mother of pearl spoons to serve caviar on ritzy crackers. No. They just sit around eating store brand Ritz crackers. Or, a pound of peanut M&M’s with a suspicious amount of M&M’s missing peanuts. That writer knows who she is. But realistically, we all have a lot to juggle to make this writing thing happen. And even when we have a good thing going, it doesn’t take much to fall off the wagon. Before you know it, a month has passed and you have missed more than one scheduled blog. Forget working on your manuscript, you probably haven’t even looked at it.
But you thought about it.
And that’s a start.
And that’s exactly how mine started. I thought about the characters and I started to outline them and build dynamics between them. Even with characters as a start I had to build a story around them. What were they doing? What were they going to do? Most importantly, what happened to them to make them who they are?
This is where I searched, not “researched” but just simply searched. What did I find while working through my day that caught my attention and held it? Why? How can I use this in a story?
For example, I had in my possession a VHS tape from my Dad. The tape was titled “Challenger.” Back in the day my Dad would set our VHS player to record events whether it be a sports game he didn’t want to miss or copying a movie off TV to watch again later. On this day he decided to record the Challenger lift off and caught the explosion. The rest of the tape were clips of news reports from that evening and any report he could catch the following days, weeks, and even months. He had hours of footage. Many news anchors and so many mustaches. I watched it all again recently, sitting in front of my TV, like a little kid watching the Saturday morning cartoons. I could not get enough of it. Of course, we know now what happened but after watching the hours and hours of footage my Dad had captured, they still only speculated. The tape ends as the news reports get shorter and shorter. Leaving off with more questions than answers.
I wanted so much to incorporate this into my story but, I couldn’t find a way to fit this with my characters that made it feel right. I moved on to the next thing that caught my attention. Just ends up this was story I went with…
Sue Klebold. Sue Klebold is the mother of one of the Columbine shooters and I read an article about her and her life after Columbine. This gave me an idea…
My current story which is work-in-progress titled The Guilty Ones is about a sister and brother living their life in the shadow of their older sister who died, but not before she attacked her own high school. The story takes place several years later when the siblings are now adults. They begin to question their feelings of guilt, their life choices, and who their sister was and why they feel she did the things she did. What they discover about her, and their family, is more than what they expect.
At this point I’m about 75% through and I’ll be honest with you…I killed off a few people when I got bored and I have zero clue where this story is going. It’s a rough draft. Those people might live in the final edit. Or they might not exist at all by then. This is the fun thing about writing.
While I like my first manuscript, I see so many mistakes now once I’ve started to work on a new story. I realize I have grown as a writer but at the same time, this is only my second attempt and I’m still finding my personal formula for what works and what doesn’t. This is where many writers would say “read.” Read to learn what you like and want to write. Read to get ideas for a story. Read and educate yourself on writing techniques and editing. Then read more, just to take a break and fall into another world for a little while.
Behind the scenes of any writer is a laptop and a mess. Piles of crap everywhere. But our goal is by the time it gets to you, our crap makes sense and most of all…you enjoy it.
Thank you for reading. We, and I personally, hope you enjoy the work we do. Because while it’s for our happiness and feeling of fulfillment to create something new, we do it for you and your entertainment.
You, the reader, are always on our mind.
TO THE LADIES!
And our newest blog group member…