Friday, July 01, 2005

Thoughts Are Swirling

It's happening. Thoughts are swirling. I don't have characters talking in my head...yet. It's more like trudging through a blizzard. I know there's someone, something ahead, but I see only fleeting images. I pull my coat tighter and brave the wind and blowing snow. I don't know how far I have to travel, but I know each step takes me closer to a safe place, a reunion with friends.

Sometimes I see two seconds of a character's life. There's a boy and a girl and they are tweeners. The responses to all these memory posts send more images flying at me. Other peoples' memories do it to me too. I really need to take a notepad to the gym. I get lots of ideas on the tredmill. But, they are undeveloped and race past me. By the time I realize the character is challenging me, he's gone. I see the back of her head and her legs pumping, and I wonder what she had to say.

I think this is a sign that it's time to sit down and start writing to see how much I know about my new friends.

I wonder sometimes if my uneventful childhood is a problem. No trauma. No major conflicts. Not much rebellion. Has my life been too plain to use it as a source of inspiration? One thing I have noticed is that everyone is insecure, even those who pretend to have it all together. My friend's kids are a big source of ideas to me these days.

They have nice lives in upscale suburbia. Conflict comes from things like going away to summer camp and finding out the girl you wanted to date still likes someone else, or calling home from camp and hearing your mom's voice and crying because you had a rough day. Or wanting to date a cheerleader, knowing she won't date you because she doesn't date geeks. And being a geeky boy and knowing that people call you a "geek" and being okay with that. Or going into the mall and refusing to step foot into the Aeropostale store because that's where the popular girls shop and you don't want to be their clone. Or wanting to go out for pizza with your friends but not being able to go unless your mom drives you. Fortunately, she agrees to sit alone in another corner of the restaurant.

I have a new writing friend who shared a tale about her childhood the other night. A very different childhood than mine. As she shared her painful experience, I was sick for her. An instant later, I was thinking about what kind of character she would be in a novel.

Like I said. Lots of thoughts. Lots of images. And, I hope enough conflict to interest readers.


At 9:00 PM, Blogger Susan Taylor Brown said...

You go girl! The characters are calling and you need to follow. Don't worry about the conflict right now. You're just in the getting to know one another stage. Ask questions. Play. Find out what your character wants. The conflict will grow out of that.

And don't worry about not having an eventful childhood. You don't need to have been IN a car wreck to write about a car wreck. You just need to find an incident in your childhoold that brings up that same emotions and transfer them to your story.

Write on right now.


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