In one of my previous blogs I shared some information about a humorous tale that highlighted the fact that inspiration can and will appear unexpectedly and how as writers / story tellers we must learn to identify this moment and act upon it immediately before it is lost for good.
This incident which I am going to share with you is about being prepared to act, it also reinforces what I said in my Author Bio section of my website Laughcryandwrite.com about having the right tools at hand such as notebooks, post it notes, camera, dictaphone etc.
In one of the earlier chapters of my book I was introducing my second protagonist (in this case a local police detective) I wrote what I thought was a rather entertaining scene. In this scene my protagonist encounters a somewhat unique character. I wrote about this character with the intention that my readers would feel sorry for him. In this case he was caught up in something rather seedy and disgusting to say the least.
After reviewing this section of the story a number of times it just didn’t feel right to me. For my readers to truly identify with the character I felt they needed more depth in order to visualize him in his true glory by engaging all of their senses.
No matter how many times I rewrote the character description I just didn’t feel that I was giving the character and my readers the justice they deserved.
Honestly this took up most of writing schedule for a week and was slowly starting to drive me insane.
I knew I would be disappointed with myself I didn’t get this right, even though it is such a small part of the story. If I accepted second best now early in the story I was worried that I’d be tempted to do this again in other sections if I started struggling.
I always knew my first novel was going to be a learning curve for me anyway, so I was happy to keep chipping away at it confident in my writing ability.
For me it’s not about blasting out a story out as quick as possible, it’s about finishing a story knowing you have put your heart and soul into it, where I the writer am confident that the story is a good as it is ever going to be.
That Saturday I was a work and a colleague whom I had not seen for some time wandered into my office for a coffee and chat. I was engrossed doing something but the second I looked up from my desk I immediately thought ‘Here is my pervert.’
As I looked at him, everything I wanted to portray in my character jumped out at me. I half listened as he chatted away; concentrating instead on describing everything I could about him, noting his height, build, wacky hairstyle, walk and voice. I made a mental note of his facial expressions and all of his individual mannerisms.
The minute he left my office I put all of this down into my note book that I try to carry with me at all times and when I got home I had the character completed just as I wanted within twenty minutes. Result.
This just goes to show you even the slightest moment can trigger something. Be prepared to embrace every encounter and experience and utilize them in your story development.
I would just like to point out that my colleague who allowed me to visualize my character properly for the first time is in fact a very decent, down to earth guy and in no way a monster. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I won’t name my friend after my character assassination of him but thank you anyway. It does bring a smile to my face now every time I see him now as I can’t but help picturing him up to all sorts of seediness.
I’d like to finish this blog off by sharing my top 5 Stephen King quotes that I found both dark and thought inspiring.
I hope you have all enjoyed this blog and I look forward to the next one.