Today I would like to give a warm welcome author, Dee Tenorio, joining us with her upcoming Rancho Del Cielo release - Trust In Me!
When The Story Chooses You
There is the common misapprehension in the world that artists, of which writers are a sub-category, are either able to wave a magic wand to achieve what they do without effort or time or that they are utter slaves to their muses. The truth, not surprisingly, is somewhere in the middle.
Artists do what they do by taking time and effort. By using a meticulousness, focus and precision of which not many people are capable to render something from their minds into reality. And don't forget those awesome artists who render ideas from other people's minds. (Now there's a challenge!)
As for muses, they are without question finicky. Annoyingly so. They are such a pain that many writers don't believe in them at all, choosing to repudiate the notion that they must wait on the whims of some secondary creative sentience. While others swear their work is empty and emotionally batters them if their muse isn't there taking active part.
What does all this mean? Pretty much, that none of us are doing the same thing. No simple boxes will contain everyone. Except one.
There is a single instance when every artist is a slave to their art, no matter the medium. The Lightning Bolt. When the art chooses you.
Since I'm a writer, we'll go with my medium. (Because I'm rude like that, lol) Now, writers who like to eat and have a roof over their heads will be the first to tell you that they don't believe in muses. The writers that have a secondary form of income, however, have a bit more leeway and go whichever way they want. There are a few who think their muses enjoy having food and shelter too and are cooperative in this endeavor. But skeptic or not, we all fall prey to the high voltage burst of inspiration that will not be ignored.
The Lightning Bolt is when a story hits you right in the face. Between the eyes. Most of the time it’s fully formed, or the character is, but the burning need to get to the keyboard or the page is nearly frenetic. It’s not a will. It’s not a might. It’s a must. You will literally knock things over to get to the page.
Sleep? You wish. If you do, it’s only from pure exhaustion and in short shifts. You might not be aware of it, but you actually sit and work with the strangest smile on your face as the story spills out like a flood. You’re not even actively thinking anymore. You’re a tool of the story, not the other way around.
The first draft comes out in a glut. A fantastic wave of almost vomitous strength. You’re lucky if you spelled half the words right and punctuation is a joke. There’s no thought to the character arc. The internal conflicts or the push/pull elements. Your brain has no room for craft. Writing in this fury is completely instinctive. The expulsion of the story is all that matters and it’s nearly violent. You’ve never been happier in your life.
A few weeks or—in the case of super-typers—a few days later, you’re done. A pile of...something on the page. It faintly oozes. With awesomeness, of course, but still. Dude, that’s ooze.
You take a few days to regain your strength, possibly detox because you’ve been living on your writer drug of choice: caffeine, cookies, Cheetos… Basically junk and your body hates you. But who cares? You have a book!
At least, until you open it again and realize you gotta edit this monstrosity. Every writer is different and sometimes that first draft really is gold. Other times, it’s the most daunting pile of poo you’ve ever seen but you can’t turn it away because it’s the most incredible piece of work you’ve ever committed.
Now, to be honest, we don’t get a full slam like that very often. But most every author gets a small bolt at least once in every book. A scene or two that turns them inside out in the best of ways.
I don’t know if that’s what makes us artists, our inability to avoid regular lightning strikes—or maybe it’s that we’d happily paint targets on our bodies to get more— but I will say, it’s a singularly awesome experience to have a story choose you. To set you on fire and wipe out everything but the creative expression.
I've been lucky enough to have felt that fire. To come across characters who don't leave my mind until I give them what they want. Most recently with my upcoming romance, "Trust In Me". The two main characters were both larger than life and had a depth that surprised me throughout. It's one of those books I know will stay with me from now on and honestly, make it really hard to write new people, but that's a post for a different time. ;)
What about you? Artist or not, have you ever been hit by a lightning bolt? A moment that changed your life and electrified your senses? Share it in the comments and be entered in a drawing for your choice of one of my backlist titles!