I’ve written a lot of posts here about my style of writing, my addiction to it, and I’ve mentioned my endless devotion to writing. I haven’t yet shared a post about how I view my habit of writing. Maybe I have, on some other blog, long ago. Anyway, I have the time to ramble, so I may as well complete the set! ^o^/
In one of my favorite movies, “Catch Me If You Can”, there is a line that sums up the excitement of my writing process. In the scene, Leonardo DiCaprio plays the character of “Frank Abagnale Jr” the youngest con artist in America’s history, and he’s meeting with his father in a restaurant. Frank is desperately trying to impress his father as a Pan Am pilot, while trying to convince his father to win back his mother and undo the divorce.
Frank’s father, played by Christopher Walken, isn’t buying that his son is legitimately a pilot and he knows that Frank is a con artist. He smiles at his son, a bit of pride and worry in his eyes, and says to him, “Where are you going tonight, Frank? Someplace exotic? Just tell me where you’re going.”.
Every time I sit in front of the blank screen of a writing program, I find myself thinking, “Where are you going tonight, Dani? Someplace exotic?”. Writing, for me, is traveling the world, to new places, new planets, new dimensions in time. It’s always an adventure, where I get to meet new people and experience exotic places within my imagination.
And it cost me relatively next to nothing to do, the cost of electricity to power my laptop and internet connection to do research. I’ve been more places within my mind that I ever had in physical reality, starting at age six until currently.
My usual first step, before I began writing, is simply dreaming of a character’s face and the environment that he or she will start out in. I don’t dream of anything else, just the character and place for a few days. Later I dream about what I wish for his or her story conclusion to be; Do they die in the end? How? Why? Do they live? How? Why? What are the circumstances of their death or survival?
Once I have those answers, that’s when I open my writing program and try to think up a name for this character, their overall personality, hobbies, career, and interests. Then I began building the background characters or people that was once within the life of my main character that will shape their overall personality, wants and desires throughout the story. Each of these background characters have their own stories and purpose.
Some of the characters will follow my main protagonist or antagonist in his or her journey towards death or survival, others will only appear for a short while or will become a mere key to the puzzle of my main character’s behaviors within the story. For example, an abusive uncle that helps sow the seeds of a villain’s scorn towards society or spurred the rigid righteousness of a hero’s quest to protecting others.
I then write about the relationship between the characters, painting a picture of how they compliment each other or don’t fit together at all. I enjoy writing opposite contrasts, either as friends or enemies, exploring how two such individuals could possibly cross paths in real life situations.
I do heavy research on concepts or careers that I’m not one hundred percent knowledgeable in or experienced, as I always want my stories to be accurate to the real-world subjects that are sometimes peppered into my fantasy tales. The rule of writing is to “write what you know”, handy advice that I was told back in the 80’s, before the internet was a real thing.
I believe that it’s still good advice, but I would be amiss if I didn’t take advantage of the massive amount of data available to me at my fingertips today. I may not have known about the finer details of space travel and what it takes to become an astronaut, or what zero-gravity is like before, but with our modern technology and a few months researching information on the NASA and Space-X websites, I can write a fairly accurate account of my characters traveling through space.
If I get it wrong and my book becomes a success on the market, I’m sure Mr. Neil deGrasse Tyson will call me out on it. I would actually consider it an honor. ^w^
After research and building my characters, the really fun part begins! I get to write the actual story towards the ending I had dreamed up, some weeks ago. I am mindful that every new twist or turn in the story will affect how close I land on the target I’ve drawn ahead of me.
Sometimes, I miss the target altogether and the ending is rewritten drastically. I don’t mind when this happens, it just adds to the excitement of the adventure. Imagine getting on a plane for Tahiti, but through a series of unplanned events, you wind up in a dragon’s lair full of gold located in New Zealand. It’s not what you were first aiming for, but maybe this adventure is a tad more fun. For a dragon lover, it is for me, to be honest! ^o^v
Every time I began a story, I’m always going someplace exotic, someplace extraordinary, someplace personal. And yes, I view myself a “con artist”, as writing requires that I play the part of my characters, to trick the reader into believing (if only for a second) that this a real person with real emotions, experiences, and that these characters are actually going through interesting and sometimes horrifying fictional situations I’ve dreamed up.
I’m selling stories of people I’ve never met and may not exist in reality or of places I’ve never physically been to. I’m conning emotional responses and attachment to characters that aren’t real. Like Frank, I’m am that doctor, lawyer, and Pan Am pilot. every time I open my writing program. Unlike Frank, I’m not stealing from American banks to play my roles. Heh, heh. *shifty eyes* >_>
As always, thanks for reading! ^_^v