Thursday, October 14, 2010

History to Story

There comes a point when the bits of research start to hop out of their prescribed, neatly labelled boxes in my head and go visiting.  Time lines start to figure skate into curlicue loops and dates play hopscotch in my brain.  It is a mutiny.  It is anarchy.  It requires a total lock down and reorganization of all notes/outlines/scribbles.  It is also the moment when the dates are changing from history into story and it is fun.  Well, once everyone is re-labelled and reorganized, it is fun. 

It happens to characters too.  They change their hair, their walk, their breakfast, their shoes--history to story.  They are their own people now and they will not be dictated to.  Everyone suddenly has places to go and people to see.  This one is off to an art gallery.  That one wants to buy a hat.  After trying to Frankenstein these historical people into storied life, they suddenly step out of the Mary Poppins chalk drawing and run amok and my job becomes crowd control--very: 'first the hat, then the gallery and then we will all go fly a kite'.  It is an energizing, exciting, terrifying, fun time in the writing process and now that I have been through this once, I realize how valuable it is.  Chaotic and messy--but valuable.

By the way, thank you to all the wonderful Plum Bean friends who met me over at Goodreads.  It was lovely.  It was like being met off the plane with a pink plumeria lei and a ride from the airport to the beach. 

13 comments:

  1. What a lovely post! -- and so nice to be along for the ride as your new cast of characters comes to life!

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  2. i just befriended you! it also said, "did you mean PRAYER PRIMER?" when i searched for you! i thought that was pretty hilarious.

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  3. you found me! the whole goodreads thing is wonderful but definitely testing my internet/website navigation capabilities... :)

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  4. Hello there! Just popping by to say that I love your blog, and that I've given it an award!

    Take a peek, and thanks for blogging:
    http://subtlemelodrama.blogspot.com/2010/10/i-say-shotgun-you-say-wedding.html

    Bethany x

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  5. I LOVE your overview of how characters can change! In my VERY minimal attempts at writing, I feel so assured that a character is a certain way, and before you know it, suddenly they just decide to do something differently! :)

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  6. bethany, thank you! that is so sweet!

    coffee and book chick, it is funny when they do that isn't it? what are you writing?

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  7. This is a lovely, lively description of a process one might easily forget to enjoy - thanks for the reminder, Priya, that writing is also, always, a romp and a rescue.

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  8. Well, it was your post that put me in mind of it!!

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  9. I will have to find you on goodreads! I love reading about the research/writing process. Since I'm a bullet point gal (I do work in finance) I struggle to write alot of detail and often wonder how you guys do it!

    I can't wait for your new book. Let me know if you might be interested in having your book picked for the 'manic mommies book club'. Send me an email and we can discuss! No pressure though :)

    Have a wonderful week!

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  10. i would be THRILLED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  11. How very exciting for you. I am going to look for the book.

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  12. Hi Priya
    Your book looks FANTASTIC!Can't wait for it. I was wondering whether International bloggers can review it. I would love to be able to review it!
    Thank you!
    Misha
    mishamary@gmail.com

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