After these many months of posting here, hinting about writing a book, I finally have a storyline. I will divulge nothing about the plot. However, if any of my readers know of good resources about the Big Thicket during the first half of the last century, please send me the link, title, writer. I want to supplement my second hand lore and childhood impressions with other sources.
I did tell my daughter about the plot and the inspiration. She immediately told me of my responsibility to paint a vivid picture of my protagonist. I will have to demonstrate the character through realistic scenes to make her believable. Otherwise she will seem too extraordinary and not inspire empathy or sympathy.
I purchased a couple of notebooks to start the first draft. I type these posts on the keyboard. It is not my favorite method. I prefer to write in my journal. I use approximately 5×7 size unlined hardbound sketchbooks for my journal. I keep a similar size spiral for lists and temporary notes. In view of these preferences, I purchase similar sized spiral tablets. They will feel familiar. They are lined pages. I don’t think that will make a difference.
Time to write. I don’t want to waste time trying to figure out the opening line. In fact, the story may start in the middle and I will need to work on the beginning after I see where it goes nearer the end.
I picked up a tablet to work on the non-fiction piece I have in mind. It may be more a series of short essays with some recipes and “how we used to do it” descriptions. That will be fine. It is the kind of book I like to read. I don’t want to lose all of the heritage from my mother and grandmothers. I already have forgotten things that a photograph or something brings to mind. I don’t know if I will recall clearly. No doubt others near me will recall more clearly. But, they can write their own book if they don’t like mine.
I am slowly but surely eliminating the excuses. Now to push aside the fear. A phrase I have on a card. “Keep feeling along the wall for the gap. When you find it, just go on through. Even if you drown.” I wrote this after I awoke from a dream seeking a gap in a cliff wall. I did find it, go through and woke up as the water rushed around me. But, that was better than standing at the blank stone wall, waiting to die slowly. Powerful images for powerful feelings. I intend to use those very feelings to get the letters into words into sentences into paragraphs into chapters into a story.
After some weeks of deliberation, I have decided to take a hiatus from weekly posting. I will “take off” the rest of December. I am changing my schedule to the first Monday of the month and allowing myself to post randomly if so inspired. Look for me again January 2016.
After a particularly difficult post, a friend asked me why I even bothered to publish that post. I made a commitment to myself to post every Monday regardless. Good, bad or indifferent. Just show up. For almost two years I have showed up regularly with few exceptions. I am writing this on Tuesday rather than Monday because I was too ill to write coherently yesterday.
Having satisfied myself with the first exercise, I want to focus now on quality and depth. I almost without exception have posted “off the cuff”. I would just sit down, open my computer and start typing. I found I easily reach 300 or more words in a sitting. I often bring some closure to my thoughts.
I am finding myself holding on to things that need writing. They need writing in my story rather than randomly in a weekly blog. If only my inner circle has opportunity to read it I will be satisfied. Because I will have finally done it.
I am still staring at the first tentative page in longhand of a story that needs to be written. I believe I have begun because it contains dialogue. I have never written dialogue. I have not written fiction since elementary school. I don’t know what I wrote, but back then we were required to write a short story from a prompt from time to time. I don’t write dialogue because I have difficulty recalling what others say in a manner to quote verbatim.
I have a sense of what I want to tell. The feeling and idea and concept I want to convey. I need to get an idea of how to convey the message. It will be fiction. But, I don’t think the ending will be exactly happy. I want to be real in the sense that life doesn’t stop at happily ever after but that a sense of wholeness is possible even after tragedy. Even on the final day.
I doubt I will get overly religious, because I am not overly religious. I am a believer in Christ. I struggle to be a disciple. But, I do know He has carried me through more heartache than some would believe possible. He has restored my belief in myself as well. He and he worked in tandem to bring me up from the depths of sadness and break the grip of grief that had such an icy hold on my spirit.
I will have to rely on him to help me through my emotional turmoil when I am writing. He will have to be patient and understanding. He will have to know I am fine, but my characters are not. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Meanwhile, I will try to bring more substance to Raining Orchids. Just less often. Thank you for reading and supporting my effort at fulfilling a lifelong ambition of being a writer. See you after the holidays….