Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Trying to Find Quiet in the Chaos

One of the earliest lessons I learned as a writer was to stop forcing words out of the character’s mouths. I had to find a quiet place externally so I could really listen internally to them telling ME the story. Otherwise, the page would end up full of chaos. After all, it is their story and I’m just the fingers on the keyboard.

There are times when my plan for the day might be to write a certain chapter or scene. Well, unless that’s also the character’s plan, it ain’t gonna happen. Hard lesson for someone as hardheaded as me, just so you know.

This past April, I was in a workshop with my local writers group. Our speaker took us through the imagery of the mind, where creativity lives, and how we writers spend a heck of a lot of time getting in our own way. It was a great workshop and really helped me clean out a lot of things that were preventing my creative flow.

But opening that door to your creative head space can also mean you’ll have new characters rudely butt in when you are feverously trying to finish a project. So do you give the character the old, IN A MINUTE treatment?

Or, do you get up from the chair, find your version of quiet place and listen? Really listen to those first pieces of story, dialogue or world building?

Ideas are such fickle things. They can come from so many places. Some of those places are light and fun to visit. Other times inspiration comes from the darker, more mysterious or painful places in a character’s heart. The sweet and sticky spider's threads it might take you seven gut-wrenching revisions to finally tease apart. But boy when the story finally comes to light, is that ever an amazing feeling.

What’s the inspiration you’re listening to today? Mine was actually pretty dang black but it was also extremely persistent. So guess what I did.

I listened.

Here is a piece of the mysterious trail I walked with a new character today.
Enjoy the brain tickle of a million and one possiblities and don’t forget to give a book some love.

Till then,

She’s Beautiful in Love

I watched my girl fall in love today.
Not with me, oh no, that ship sailed and sank.
She’s falling in love this time without me.
And my God, she’s stunning in love.
I’d forgotten the way she looks in love, or hadn’t bothered to remember.

Is there really a difference?

No longer the girl I fell for, the one I constantly reminded her I wanted back.
She’s a gorgeous woman. Strong independent, happy with herself. I can see that in the glow coming off her and its nearly blinding.
When did I stop seeing at her? Seriously, I can’t remember.
Her head tips back with a laugh, totally given over to the joyful sound.

He lists toward her, drawn to the happy sound the same way I my feet want to run to her.
He touches her arm so tenderly and she seems to melt towards him.
Did I ever touch her that way?
No, no I didn’t. I was too busy with my own stuff to meet that need.
Her hair spills forward as he whispers in her ear.

I hate him.

She smiles wider as he opens her car door.
Did I ever do that?
I frown as my “did not” pile seems to be piling higher than my “did” the longer I watch.
My stomach turns to a hard ball as his fingers brush her cheek and her eyelids flutter closed.
My fingertips tingle remembering how her skin is warm silk in that spot.
He lingers close and I know then she loves him.
Because once, she looked at me that way with her beautiful eyes shiny, lips and cheeks flushed.
Yes, she’s completely, 100%, head over heels gone on him.
And I know exactly how he feels being on the receiving end of that look.
Like he can do anything, be anything, accomplish anything.
Did I ever give that same gift to her?
I mentally flip through the pictures of her face.
Crying, angry, hurt eyes.
Hollow with a loneliness she complained of, cheeks wet with tears and finally cold. Indifferent.
Did I ask? No.
Did I try? Why should I, that’s her job.
Did I chase that chill away with love?

I didn’t.
I rolled over and fell right to sleep while her tears stained the pillow.
I belittled any dream that made me feel threatened.
I did anything I could to remind her that she was the very last thing I ever thought about.

I turn my face into the wind. I can’t watch their kiss.
Because now, he’s reminding her that she’s his everything.
Her heart is his to cherish, her dreams are whispered across his pillow instead of mine. It’s his joy at her accomplishments she craves.
I watch the taillights as long as I can when they drive away.
I was one lucky bastard to have ever held her heart.

She’s so beautiful in love. 

2014 K.D. Wood 
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  1. OMG. LOVED this. It makes my heart ache so perfectly good that I want to thank you for letting me share in the angst.