Friday, November 9, 2007

In the Begining

It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does.
~William Faulkner

Jollie Mae Stryker introduced herself to me over the summer. I think I was washing dishes at the time. All I knew of this woman was that she was 30, had no family left, and had been traveling the southern states for eight years.

It was then that I got a vision for Jollie. She would get a romance. She would end happily ever after, she would find "home". Unfortunately, Jollie is stubborn and didn't want to be in a light, fun Romance. "It's not my style," she said to me. So, I decided to sell the idea to her. I tried to force my vision on her.

"But, but, I will get you a gorgeous man." I pitched. "I will get you children! I will get you happy!"

"Look, I wanna be happy just as much as you want me to be, but my life is not flowers and sunshine. I've got a lot of cactus and rain to deal with. If you would just SHUT UP for a little bit, you'll see what I'm talking about."

It was then I figured I was insane. I had been holding a week long (possibly more) debate with my imagination. The thing is, once I got my brain and rational side out of the way, my imagination made sense.

So, I kept my brain on sleep mode, and sat down at the computer with Jollie and told her to tell me her story. "Well," she said, "the average person manages to live all the years of their lives without ever committing murder. I managed to live six."

Once she told me the background, I was able to fill in the now. Where she was going, what she would be doing. I've gone through a million scenarios. I've tried to tell her story in Third Limited, but she doesn't like that. This is Jollie's story to tell. I am merely the hands with the ink.

And, truth be told, I had been doing a pretty good job of keeping up with her, until recently. I've let my brain get back in the middle of things, and the writing is a fight. What next? Would they say that?

I'm trying to figure out how to keep that bitch of an internal editor quiet long enough to get the words down on paper. Once that's done, she can edit and criticize all she wants. But right now, I'm at the beginning. I am writing that ever important first draft, just trying to keep up with my hero. She's running, and I'm simply jogging.

For you writers, are there any tricks you use to avoid the self edits so early on in the work? Please share. I'll try anything!

Take Care

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