Saturday, October 23, 2010
When Lightning Strikes--WRITE IT DOWN!
It has been a month, or so, since I had written those few chapters that would become my third vampire novel/series. Life's dramatic episodes just took precedence, and it was tough for me to get back to this. Plus, I've been working six days a week. It was difficult to reacquaint myself with the story, and the plot idea.
My problem was I hadn't had a chance to think it through. I didn't even have a clear idea who my villain was, nor why things were going on the way I'd had them.
Rule of thumb when a story just isn't jelling for some reason: Wait it out.
The waiting is worth it. Other things in life might help bring things into a certain light that you at first hadn't thought about before. Once I allowed my mind to not worry about this story, it relaxed enough so that I was able to do this question and answer series of why this and what if game. You need to question the why part, and then ask what if mainly because the what if's pile up and you suddenly have inspiration for some better plot line, something that hadn't occurred to you before, when you began. This is why there is a first draft. Every writer worth their salt knows that it is going to change drastically. I think when we write something down, we do merely because it does feel like a good start. And there's probably some good stuff in there that in a second draft could stay, but you change it around to go with the new ideas.
I sometimes take from real life. But most writers do. We watch the news, read articles in newspapers. Many horror fiction writers take from real life and tweak it, sometimes a lot.
In my area right now a college student has gone missing for more than a week. It's a terrible tragedy. I'm trying to put myself in the place of the parents, or someone--like a sister--close to her. My heart-felt wishes for her to be found safe.
Taking from such a tragedy makes me feel a little guilty because it is still on going. The weird twist to this story is that another man--I think he might have been in construction--disappeared in the same general area about 5 years ago. Never seen. However this isn't related.
But my mind is doing the "what if" thing. Since I deal in urban fantasy, my what if is what if the missing people came across a portal that took them to another place/another world plane? My heroine, being a clairvoyant, is asked to look for the sister of her brother's wife. She stumbles across that same area, that same portal.
In reference to such things, I looked up black holes, looked up the Theory of Relativity, to help base my story on these ideas loosely. There was a picture in a book I had that showed black holes, and lines going from one black hole to the other and it suggests that these networks might allow objects to travel through time and space--according to some scientists. Another thought I gleaned from this article was that objects that go into black holes may re-emerge elsewhere . . . and elsewhen. Then it goes into the idea that UFOs are actually visitors from a parallel reality, or from another dimension.
So, my gentle readers and fellow writers, when looking for something to spark your imagination, open up a good book (Mine happened to be Into the Unknown by Reader's Digest, copyright 1981), and articles in the newspaper. I save a lot of articles in a big bin and look through them once in a while.
When lightning strikes, you'd better have your notebook and pen at the ready, just in case.