A reader once told me “You paint pictures with words.” It surprised me, for I had never thought of my writing that way before, and I had to give some thought as to how I managed to do that for her.
So I talked to several of my writer friends, asking them their process. I was amazed to find that we all did it differently (okay, keep in mind, this was years ago when I was still new to even being around other writers). One gal told me she would write during commercials of her favorite TV show. Another other said she wrote while her kids were at ballet or ball practice. Another said she’d hide in her bedroom and bar the door to write. One used a very detailed outline, knowing each step her character would take. Another said she wrote up pages of character charts, outlining the way they would speak, the decisions they would make, the choices that would propel them toward the resolution of the plot.
Knowing other methods helped me to understand my own writing process. And that I did it the hard way. Not out of choice, mind you, but just because it was the only way I could tell a story. I do start with a general outline, but the magic for me is in the process itself. In getting to know my characters through the story. In immersing myself in the world and fully visualizing being there. And so I have to have complete focus in order to write.
Many of my friends can teach other writers how to write. Me, I’m not so good at teaching. I just write. And it’s difficult for me to explain exactly how, because it’s such an organic process for me.
In THE LADY OF THE STORM, I wrote a scene involving a magical mountain, and in order to get it on paper, I had to be standing there myself, in that very moment:
Gray clouds moved over the skies, covering the brief
morning sunshine, but even in that dimness the mountain
of crystal blazed, as if it possessed some inner light.
It sat in the middle of a field of tall grass, the enormous
base of it a cluster of square-shaped stones angling
inward toward the top into four-sided capped spires.
“Oh, dear,” muttered Cecily.
A river ran straight to the base of it, and they rode
parallel alongside. Belle snorted at the tall grass that
swished against her belly, the much taller Apollo
eyeing her with a merry gleam as he stepped lightly
over the growth.
“Do you hear that?” asked Giles.
Cecily cocked her head. The river gurgled beside
them, the grass rustled in the rising wind of the coming
storm, the leather of their saddles creaked, and from far
away, she could hear the faint sounds of the city. And
between and betwixt those soft noises shivered a song
that she couldn’t quite catch the tune of.
“It’s the mountain,” she replied. “The crystal is
There’s no right or wrong way to write. It’s just whatever works for you. And for me, I don’t have a prayer of getting my reader to see what I’m writing unless I actually can see it myself. And even then, there’s no guarantee that I can connect with everyone’s inner vision.
Until Next Time,
PS. I was just notified that THE LADY OF THE STORM took first place in The Golden Quill contest. I’m honored to be chosen among such talented writers!