I was reading through the blog yesterday, and Rafa’s post titled “I’m a Telepath.”
It made me a little nostalgic thinking back to when I first began writing actual stories and not inane mommy-please-stick-this-on-the-fridge childish babble.
My love affair with stories began early. My need to write down my own came almost immediately after.
But, I never saw myself as a storyteller. That was the last thing I wanted to be, especially at those sleepovers and things kids/teens do. You know the ones where everyone sits in a circle and with shiny, sleep deprived, sugar-high eyes and freshly painted nails, and take it in turns to tell a story?
When it got around to my turn to narrate what the starry-eyed one in the group would insist “has to be romantic.”
And the one full of false bravado would yell “No! Make it gruesome.”
I would “WTF?” a bit in my head, and refuse.
“Story-telling is not a game.” I would want to intone in a deep, throaty voice, from way up there on my magical literary high horse. “It’s… It’s just not making shit up for giggles and sighs. And by the by, oh starry-eyed one, you’re not fooling anyone with your sudden interest in romance. We all know you’re crushing bad on the guy who hangs around outside school pretending to be cooler than he is. OK, so maybe all of us don’t know, and even your BFF who is dating him doesn’t know. But I know, because you just happen to have casually mentioned him at least sixty times in passing, and you sort of twitch when you do.”
When I got home with my nails a lovely shade of burgundy, I’d write a story outline where an average looking guy remains oblivious to how much his girlfriend’s best friend secretly loves him. He can’t help being oblivious though, because his girlfriend is all sorts of pretty, and exploding fireworks in the oral sex department, and that, along with his permanent stash of weed, keeps him firmly in la-la-land.
His girlfriend on the other hand is so madly in love with him, she’s mentally already fixed a wedding date and named their three future babies (Dick, Van, and Dyke) even though she’s fifteen. Apparently, her parent’s near to perfect marriage influenced her more than it should have and she wants the idyllic fairy-tale life daddy gave mommy. Her heart is in the future, her body in the present, and her mind swings back and forth between future and present so quickly it eventually becomes disoriented and damaged. She marries her boyfriend (now all clean and spruced) when she’s nineteen, has four kids instead of three (they name the last one Sebastian Archibald, which drives the kid to leave home at age sixteen and legally change his name).
As for the best friend. She gets over her crush, faces a few years of similar rejection with some more unavailable guys, till her college history professor points out how humans are suckers for repeating their mistakes. The girl falls madly in love with him, twitches her way through all his lectures, and tries to let him know her feelings by dotting her ‘i’s’ with tiny hearts in assignments and term papers.
But the professor remains oblivious (duh), and one day he kills himself after discovering his wife of twenty years has been cheating on him for twenty years.
The girl is devastated. She plods along for the rest of the term alone and filled with much too much confusion. She eventually finds a little peace by becoming a vegan.
As you can see, plots are not my strong point.
But plots are important in stories. So, write them I must. And, I do that with my characters, because if I spend all my time thinking up oh so clever plots, I’d want to shoot myself in the head.
I do not like thinking up plots. Although, I do envy those geniuses who seem to so effortlessly do it.
In fact, if I actually do think of a super-spectacular plot for my story, the story immediately dies in my brain and I can’t write it. And believe me, that is not a good thing for a writer to have happening in their head.
So, I like to make my characters find their own plots. I like to get into their skin and find what makes them tick, think, act, react, behave like sons of bitchy bastards, or even saintly nuns yearning to be vagabonds.
For me it’s all about the characters in a story. It’s why I love reading, it’s what keeps me glued to a book. I rarely care if the story I’m reading wraps up with a nice red multi-orgasmic bow in the end.
Who cares about the end? It’s the journey. It’s those guys and gals in there holding my mind and heart captive like they’re doing right now in a story here on this very blog.
Strong, weak, good, bad, idiotic, awesome or whatever. I firmly believe they are what make or break a story, and I will defend that point to the death, and even mud wrestle over it.
It’s where I keep most of my focus when I write, and the more I write characters, the more I find that when they are strong enough, the story plot becomes solid if not bearable. The characters ensure the plot develops, not the caffeine-high writer.
If you’re new to my work and plan to read my stories, it’s what you can expect from me. I don’t play by the “start, middle, and finish” rule, or the “plot is everything and the character must start at the start and go to the end of it the proper way” rule either.
But then, when it comes to writing, I seldom play by any rules.
And, that my friends, wraps up my morning ramble.
Thank you for coming back and reading. The next chapter for Desconocido will be up soon, so stay tuned.
I hope you all are enjoying the blog. If anyone is having problems accessing posts or pages, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.