Tuesday, January 29, 2013

escape to another world

Currently I am very involved in writing. My goal is a story the length of my other historicals which range from 120,000 to 140,000 words. For a writer like myself, never published in paper, I couldn't even get an agent to read a manuscript that length. Publishing houses draw a limit at 100,000 for their slush piles (uninvited queries and manuscripts) and prefer less. But this is generally what I feel is needed to fully tell such a story. Once I get into a book like this, I want to stay with these people and fully develop the plots with all the nuances possible. This one follows a prior Arizona story by about two years. The hero and heroine began as secondary characters that I realized would merit their own story.

Old Tucson

The challenge, when you create a new book, is choosing which characters go along with the main protagonists. For a book this length, you need good secondary characters and some secondary plot-lines. You have this historic period you are setting them into-- which might be your own but in my case is southern Arizona and beginning in the winter of 1886. 

Whether today or yesterday, you find out what their community would be like. What were the political issues back then and did they impact their lives? Who do they talk over their problems assuming they are the type to reveal their thinking to anyone? Who will present barriers to their life? What challenges do they choose and which ones are forced upon them by someone else or nature? What are the fun things that just happen, which you didn't plan, but come out of these characters' interactions?

As you are writing, at a certain point, this world will seem as real as your own. It is as though you have reached into a pool and pulled from it characters that at a certain point become fully fleshed. What began as an idea has become a world as real as your own and it's where the magic lies in writing. It is both the challenge and the joy of it.

I particularly recommend such activity in a time such as ours where when you read what is going on in the world, you want to curl up in a hole. I am a believer in being informed and involved in the political choices being attempted or done. Our awareness is critical if we want to remain anything resembling a democracy.

For those who don't know, we are a Republic. We elect leaders to run our system. We vote for them based on believing they follow our own goals and priorities. These are the ones we expect to fight to make this country a good one for us all. When we lose the ability to elect leaders like that, this system is doomed because a lot of what happens once it gets to those leaders too often isn't democracy at all.

This can be very depressing to think about-- whichever political side you take. My opinion is we need to pay attention, be aware of what is happening because what they do does impact our real world. How can we expect to keep a nation that runs on the will of the people if the people can be so easily dissuaded from paying attention? But, the key to a personal, satisfying life, is to do what we can and then let it go. It's a balancing act because how to let it go is the problem.

It is in times like this where I heartily recommend writing fiction whether that be full length manuscripts, novellas, novelettes or short stories. Create your own world and if that's sci fi, fantasy, romance, adventure, pop or great lit, it doesn't matter. 

The ticket is finding somewhere fascinating for you to go with your characters and escaping for awhile from the world in which we actually live. Give your fantasy world some interesting prime characters which might be male and female, mother and offspring, friends, enemies, whatever intrigues you. Then start writing the events as they unfold. Consider if that worked. If it didn't, start over. Whatever the case, you want your mind caught up in their world and not your own as a way to get a break.


Sabino Canyon and another way to escape for awhile-- nature

3 comments:

Tabor said...

I doubt that I could stay that organized or remember the facts that I created for such a long book. It would begin to have holes where I forgot prior things I had written.

Rain Trueax said...

Well one thing you do is create notes. There is actually a computer program that others use which lets you write say a character profile for every person in the story. It can definitely get complicated and when you make changes later, which happens, it's easy to forget something. I had one such goof caught only after one of my manuscripts was out as an eBook and a reader questioned something in a review which led me to go back and find the goof and fix it (with Kindle, it's not hard to correct such things).

What I have in front of me right now are two sheets of paper. One has character names with a brief note as to who they are in the story. The other has some details of the region (like newspaper name) and each chapter where it began and ended and where I am currently. My system is anything but highly professional but I don't want to take time out to learn to use PageFour (yet) which is free if you are interested. The ones who use it say it's terrific for keeping such details organized.

The plots I work out often way ahead of where I am writing which means once in awhile, where I am has to be revised to fit where I am going. Here's the beauty of it though-- my mind is on it, not on some political thing that really irked me during the day. I escape it totally by this.

Last night I had a dream for a great short story which I think I'll use in a blog rather than short story as right now I am not going to take on one single other idea until I finish two books. One well on its way and the other waiting with about 40,000 words into it but stopped by something else. I NEVER leave unfinished writing projects, so I am wanting to take care of both of these. This one will be done before I decide whether to put these books out as eBooks. I am still torn on it which means I also am putting time into the places they say promote books for readers. If the books can't get seen, there is no point in doing it and I won't do more free books. I will though eventually get mine onto several sites besides Kindle... eventually ;)

One other thing, the more I write and create, the more I get dreams to give me ideas. Daytime creativity for me leads to nighttime. I don't know if it works for everyone but it's better than dreaming about the latest political irritation ;) I think for someone who isn't writing but wants to-- just start and see where it goes. You never know until you start.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

The new cover for Second Chance is emotional and mysterious. I like it very much.