By Martha Reed
I love three day weekends mainly because if I organize them properly it can seem like I squeeze two Saturdays out of them and that means I get my weekday chores out of the way leaving me a big glorious chunk of time for creative writing. I’m in a very active writing phase right now because I’m within the last fifty pages of my new novel, I know where I’m going and I just have to get it there.
Yes, I use outlining – it’s another one of the tools in my writers’ kit – but the best part is even at this late stage of the game when I think I know everything that’s going to happen my characters can still throw me a curveball. For instance, at around 10AM yesterday one of my characters was supposed to pass by a table out on the patio and drop a sassy comment and to my surprise she pulled out a chair, sat herself down and poured out a glass of champagne.
I immediately inserted a page break in my manuscript and started a wholly unexpected new chapter since I was ten pages into the previous one, that’s about my average length and evidently Sally has something she’d like to say. I’ll be honest with you – I’m as mystified as anyone by her action and I can’t wait to hear what she has to divulge. She’s got me so curious I even brewed up a second pot of coffee with dinner in the hope I could get a second caffeinated burst of inspiration but in my heart of hearts I know that what Sally’s about to drop on me is so good I should wait until next Saturday – my next big block of unbroken time – to hear her out with my full attention. I believe her revelation will be that good.
Now the question I get from readers and my fans is: where do you get this stuff? I admit I’ve been blessed with a wide and varied lifetime full of experiences and most of them were self-inflicted. I’m pretty sure there are people out there who can craft perfect little gemstone stories from events that occurred within four homebound walls but I am not one of them. I love range and scope and throwing a whole mess of unrelated characters together to see what happens. How I get to imagine how they’ll react is a large part of the fun for me and once again begs the question: if I don’t know what’s going to happen next – as the author - then where does the genesis come from?
Let’s put it to the ethersphere. Any ideas?