Thursday, October 24, 2013

Finding your story

by Maria Geraci

People (as in readers and fellow authors) always ask me how I find my stories. If you're a writer, then I'm sure you get asked this question a lot as well.

My answer is always the same. I don't find my stories. They find me.  Now, lest you think this is some kind of woo-woo post, let me assure you. It most certainly is :)

By woo-woo, I mean something that I can't readily explain. As in mystical. Or magical, for want of a better word. Stories come from deep within us. They're extensions of how we think and how we experience life. Kind of like dreams. Only dreams that manifest themselves during our waking periods in such vivid detail that we're able to write them down in 300 or so pages.

That's also the way theme works. Theme evolves from story. Not the other way around. So when someone asks me what the theme of my current wip is, I can honestly answer I don't know. Not until I finish writing my story, that is. Maybe not even until I finish a second or maybe even third round of revisions. But I digress...

When I begin a new story, I open up my word doc to a blank screen and one tiny idea. Usually, it's  a character in some sort of situation. And that's it. No outline. No character sketches. Nada. It's me, my laptop, and that one idea for the next 90,000 or so words. Kind of scary. But also kind of exhilarating. I write hard and fast and yes, I have to revise. Sometimes a little, but more than sometimes, a lot.

I love how characters I thought to only give a couple of lines to, become major secondary characters, sometimes taking over an entire scene. I love how I think my character will react in a certain situation, only to write the scene to discover something entirely different. I love how I think I know how my story will end, only to discover that's not the way it will end up at all. And how that ending was the way it was supposed to be from the very beginning, because all the time I was writing, my subconscious knew what my story was.

I know. I said this was going to be woo-woo. I hope I didn't disappoint.

How do you write your stories?

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