Thursday, October 24, 2013

How a writer's brain works

The other day, I was talking to a newish friend about my blog. She asked me how often I post, and I said, "almost every day" like it was nothing. She said, "I don't know how you come up with things to write every day."  I just shrugged. I didn't really know how to answer.

Whenever someone discovers I've written novels, they ask me where the ideas for the stories come from.  Again, it's hard to know how to answer this question.  Um.  My brain? While it's true most of the characters in my novels are based on real people I know/knew, the stories are usually just made up as I go. I just start typing and the words pour out.

I can't explain to people how or why I write.

I just do.

If I'm not writing, I'm thinking about what I'm going to write next.

I believe everyone has a story (this is one thing I loved about journalism), and I believe you can make a story out of anything. For example, the short piece I'm writing now is based on a dream I had last weekend.

As I gear up for the next National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I'll be working with a lot of familiar characters -- as I'm planning to write a sequel to my last published work, "Riffs of Regret."  This will be a challenge for me.  Instead of exploring characters, I'm going to have to find new scenarios and situations for characters I've already created.  But I'm looking forward to this challenge and spending more time with characters I love dearly.

That's what writing is all about for me -- the characters.

And let me tell you, I can find characters anywhere.

Even though I don't work in a creative field anymore, I am bombarded with creative cues every day.  In my work, I see a lot of names and financial documents.  Sometimes I make up a story in my head about who these people are and what their lives are like. I do the same with some of my co-workers.  And with people I see on the street, in airports, and anywhere else.

Is that weird?

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