Slowly but surely I am getting there. It’s taken me since June of last year to get serious about my writing and now I really feel I’m getting to the heart of the story. Or, at the very least the two MC’s have begun to have a vested interet in each other.
When I’m writing, I try very hard to put myself in the zone. What is the zone? The sweet spot, the innocence, the purity of my teenage self who first discovered what it was like to have feelings for a boy. I try to channel these feelings to incorporate them into my MC and not give her my now adult perspective. It’s weird to keep that part of me so alive and relevant. Sometimes I get all tingly and laugh at myself for feeling so naive and foolish while I write gushy parts. Other times, I get angry for allowing myself to feel the hurt that came along with teenage love and reliving the parts I’d sooner forget.
In 1949, columnist Walter Winchell wrote, “Red Smith was asked if turning out a daily column wasn’t quite a chore. …’Why, no,’ dead-panned Red. ‘You simply sit down at the typewriter, open your veins, and bleed.'”
I wholeheartedly believe this to be true. I am writing a YA paranormal story, but that doesn’t mean my characters are one dimensional and flat. All of my characters are important and mean something to me; I want to make sure each of their voices are heard and make an impact on the story as a whole. Together, the voices of my characters are weaving the tapestry of the story one sentence/thread at a time.
It may take a village to raise a child, in my case it’s the same to tell a story. I wrote out every character on a white board and noticed I had more than 30 different characters, from people who didn’t even have a line of conversation, or those mentioned once and in passing. Perhaps that’s my doing, trying to create a sense of what’s happening in the town, showing that there are many different people invested in the story and it’s perhaps that which makes me feel the story is somewhat believable.
I suppose I’m somewhat prickly in terms of defending the genre. I’m proud of what I’m doing, but I do sense a disapproving glare when I tell people. I know everyone is a critic and I’m sure I’ll have my fair share. The work behind the story is what people fail to recognize. The blood letting, it’s sometimes a lot to manage and I find myself zoning out, and lost in an almost memory. It’s like digging back into my locked memories, ones I hid for a reason, and bring them back for one last kick. The emotions can be so raw, so painful, but it helps me and I channel it to make things work through the story. All these emotions, I hope, make the story full and relatable. I refuse to write another typical story where the female lead is weak, pushed around, and not able to make up her mind on anything. No, not this author.
I honestly, naively, hope to change the playing field of my genre. I suppose that is every author’s dream, perhaps? That is my hope and I want very much to be able to reclaim an intelligent story vs the wishy washy ones I see. Let’s see what happens.