This is the first story ever that's stalled for me. I think it's because I followed Hattie into a corner that we didn't know how to get out of. I do now, thanks to some brain-storming with fellow authors, and I'm back on track. The words are starting to flow since that I've given Hattie a new direction. She's talking again and anxious to move ahead with her story. We've totally switched gears from an historical western to a time-travel historical. I'm jazzed. I hear her sweet voice again.
You might think it's strange to admit to hearing voices, but I get scared when I don't. Normally, I have a chattering cacophony in my brain and struggle to sort out which one I want to hear. I'm blessed that most of my characters come with a story, title and a passel of friends in hand, so I have to give little thought to the telling of the story. The task for me lies in showing it to the reader.
Anyone can tell a great story, I've often heard, but it takes a true author to involve the reader in the emotions, smells, sights, and sounds. Basically, I have to pull everyone's senses into the story and use them. When the wind blows, I want my readers to feel the breeze caressing their cheeks. If I'm baking cookies, I want that smell to invade their nostrils and tickle their appetites. When my heroine cries because her heart is broken, I want my readers to reach for a tissue. It sounds simple, yet it's one of the hardest parts of being a writer. You can't just show, you have to show in present tense, put the reader in the moment and make them live the story as if they were the leading role. Simple, huh?
NOT. The myriad of rules that come into play, keep things interesting, and it seems they change with the wind. What's important one day, doesn't seem to be the next, and there is always something new on the horizon. The task then becomes which guidelines to follow and which to ignore. I've decided I'll write in my fashion and keep my fingers crossed. I ignore a lot of the simple rules because they don't follow my writing style, but ones that really interrupt the flow for me when I'm reading the work of others are ones I adhere to. Example...I try very hard not to use tags to describe dialogue that hasn't yet been spoken. How can you describe someone's tone before they speak? In fact, I'm trying very hard to avoid tags as much as possible. Readers are smart...they can figure out the obvious. If two people are in the room, we don't have to identify the movement or speech of each one in every instance. You'd be surprised how many thing authors still do. We all are in varying stages of our career, and there's always a lot to learn.
For me the best part of writing is finding an outlet for my own emotions. When my real world gets tough, I can escape by writing about someone elses life. If I'm angry, I can smash a virtual chair or turn the air blue with language I wouldn't normally use. If I'm in pain, I can transfer all that to my leading lady and let her do the crying for me. I can become a real super hero, dash back or forward in time, even make love to a shape shifter if I so desire, or I can just be content to write something contemporary and modern. A lot has to do with my character and what they bring to the table, but I also reserve my license to be creative. It comes in handy.