Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Are you with me?

The thing about me and stories: I don't just write them, I live them. Before I did the Nano novel, pieces of my character were filtering into my imagination. I didn't know it at the time, but bits and pieces of her and her story were there with me. I had ideas for scenes which I didn't realize would appear in the next book that I wrote. I had my character "speaking" to me in some way, even if I couldn't actually "hear" her. My character was very slowly coming to life within me and, by the time I started to write her story, she was right there ready to reveal everything about herself and her world.

Stories are like that sometimes. They'll be with us in some way or another. The seeds will be planted and the stories will grow and grow until we just can't contain them within ourselves anymore. Until we simply have no choice to allow them to grow even more on paper.

On one hand, I worry over this process taking so long. There's so much importance placed on getting things done RIGHT NOW. Getting things written RIGHT AWAY. There's all this rush, rush, rush with the creating and writing process.

I don't like being rushed with my work, particularly with fiction. I prefer to nurture my story ideas, take the time to intimately know my characters and feel for them. I just want to let them all have the time and the room to grow before I start writing them. They are really just better stories for it and I'm able to write my characters better, too.

This is why, on the other hand, I know it's better to allow my stories to come into being this way. I allow the time to pass to know my stories and characters better. I allow them room to grow and interact. I spend time in their world and see how their lives are like.

With my MG series, I had the idea for it years ago. I didn't start writing it, though, because there was a piece missing from the puzzle. But while I was searching for that piece, I got to know my characters better. I allowed them time to grow and form in my mind. I understood how they were and what kind of town they live in. The people they know. And after I got that missing piece, I was able to sit down and start writing their stories, because I knew them better now.

I really think it's more important to get to know our stories as best as we can before we start writing them. We all like to hurry up with everything. Do things RIGHT THIS MINUTE. But when it comes to storytelling, trying to rush everything will only hurt the story.

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