I’m learning to listen to the voices that I hear when I’m writing. It makes the experience so much easier. Some people call it listening to their muse. Others say that they’ve done that since they started writing-many published novels ago.
During the process of writing Covering the Sun with My Hand I did that. I didn’t get the stories sequentially, though. I heard bits and pieces and thought that was that. It wasn’t. I had to use that gift I learned in graduate school called ‘logical sequencing.’ In the thick of revising I found myself putting various sections together known as ‘right ordering’ them.
Between finishing up my recently published novel and my current work I actually completed another. A different genre- mystery. I love mysteries but mine is not dark enough. Yet. I need to be able to cut my teeth through it. I’ve often said that I like to write in the minor keys.
I wrote that story, the story didn’t write me. There’s a wide chasm between the two. Writers recognize it. It’s when you manufacture something for the sake of it. There’s nothing wrong with it. The process has its good points. I practiced my grammar. I practiced putting a story together. I practiced dialogue. I practiced character development. Maybe I’ll eventually let it out of the desk drawer and send it to a publisher. Or not.
My current story is writing me. I sit on the train and hear the words flow through me. I pull out my smart phone and instead of playing Bejeweled or Candy Crush, I set the words down in the notebook feature. I was gifted with four poems yesterday as I traveled my 20 minute ride from Manhattan to Brooklyn. When I reread these words last night it helped me to understand my new protagonist, Maggie Fuentes, a lot better. She’s so unlike me that I’ve had a hard time getting her motivation. Because I listened, now I do.
The process goes on. I listen. I write. I understand.
Write on, friends!