Friday, April 11, 2008

How I Write

I've been asked to describe how I come up with my scenes, visions and characters. That's not an easy thing to put into words, since for the most part, Catrìona is telling me the story, and I just type it. Really. I may have a general plan, but she directs me all the way.

In fact, when I try to take control because I feel she's going in a different direction than I perceive the plot should be going, I'm literally shut down. Talk about writer's block! Nothing happens. I can sit at the keyboard for a week, and unless I relinquish control back to her, the screen will remain blank. How's that for channeling!

She takes me to places I would never have thought to go, introduce characters as she needs them (she does let ME name them, though), and come up with some obscure bit of information that I have to research to be sure it's correct. There won't be another word typed until the research is complete. I'm not one who can skip around it, because many times the direction that is taken is derived directly from what I find in the history. It's like a light bulb turning on and lighting the path to the next scene. It's pretty fun actually, not knowing what's going to happen until it's typed. The story is as new to me as it is to the readers. Kind of like watching a movie and going along for the ride, letting each scene unfold with its twists and turns.

Many, many times, Cat will throw a surprise in that sets me to talking to the screen, saying, "Are you sure? But how will this tie in with the scene we're doing now?" Much like Cat does in the stories, there will be a voice in my head telling me to not think how, just see where it takes me. Hey, if it doesn't work, the delete key is a stroke away. It seems the only time I use the delete key to destroy a scene is when I try to take over.

So after six years of writing, I've learned to listen to Catrìona and let her lead me through the story. It's a blast!