My laundry, more specifically my dryer, and I have a special relationship. The serenity I find in doing such a simple mundane task allows my creative mind to emerge. While doing laundry I can push the outside world away, I can release my analytical brain from its duties, and I can let my mind wander.
It is during this creative outflow of time that I may solve plot issues, discover new characters, fix a scene, have a dialog with a character, or even create a new story. I dedicate my stories to my dryer because it is such a significant part of my writing. It is my release from the real world. It takes me to a place of play and creative outlet. It is my escape, at least temporarily, into a world of fantasy.
To my dryer - I dedicate this to you.
Time to go, my dryer is calling me...
Sometimes writing is like raising a child.
The newborn stage: A story is born. You give it a clever name, coddle it, change it, feed it, nurture it, love it.
The Terrible Twos: NO!!! Its first word. The start of the temper tantrums.
The adorable childhood stage: The age of cooperation, fun, being together, learning new things, helpful, and exercising some independence.
Pre-adolescent: I don’t want to.... Let’s just leave it at that.
Teenage Years: Please just help me get through this without hurting anyone. The stage of raging hormones, stubbornness, arguments, defiance, whining, too busy texting.
Graduation: Yeah, we made it. We are now the Proud Author of a Graduate.
1. Off to College: we send our baby, our child, off to an agent or publisher. We hope and pray that it uses our hard earn time (dollars) to learn and get a degree (published), not party and fumble its way through the process, or worse yet, has to face rejection.
2. Skips College and Moves Out: Not interested in College. Wants to be Indie (independent). Gets a job, earns its own money, enriches itself through its own process, is out experiencing life.
3. Can't Get Its Act Together: You pray that it would just grow up soon, PLEASE!
An Adult: Your child, your story, has moved on now. It’s earning its own way. It’s responsible. Calls you less frequently. Needs you even less. It’s there for you on holidays and special occasions.
Some stories you raise and everything goes rather smoothly. Others, well, they may take a long time, they may challenge you along the way and they may need your constant love.
Welcome to Parenthood... The Raising of a Story
As you right your first draft you may fumble through it, but when you revise/rewrite your work:
1. Do you have a play-by-play method for revising/polishing your work in order to reach the goal line?
2. Or, do instincts kick in and tell you when you have made a touchdown? In other words, how do you know when it's just right?
It’s Football Season? Already?
I guess you can tell I’m not a big football fan. But, I’ll give it my best shot in using some football jargon to describe how I complete my mysteries.
In writing my first draft, I can’t say I ever really fumble. As soon as I get my first sentence, I’m off and running. It’s just me and the plot, with my characters running along side. We’re having such fun; it looks as though we’ll take it all the way to the goal line. I see the words “The End” flash on the scoreboard. I’m sprinting like there’s no tomorrow. Then somewhere near the eighty-yard line, I’m I struck from behind. I hit the cold, hard ground; stunned; shocked; not sure of where I am. My characters stand around, shouting for me to get up, but I can’t. I simply stare at the scoreboard; the clock ticks away—seconds, minutes, hours, days—until I realize I have to start over and plan my strategy. I call time out, go back to page one, and start taking notes. I look for characters who shouldn’t be there, loose ends that need tying, plot points that need to be delete or expanded. And when I think I have it all figured out, my protagonist hikes me the ball. During those final twenty yards, I’m usually tackled several more times. Each time, it’s easier to get up and start over. When I’ve checked everything off my fix-it list, I stop on the ninety-nine yard line and turn around. The tacklers are gone; my characters are smiling; I step over the goal line and do a victory dance. And if that event happens during September, as it did with my latest mystery, I treat myself by watching (don’t hate me) as much baseball as possible.
Kathleen Kaska writes the Sydney Lockhart Mystery series and the Classic Triviography Mystery Series published by LL-Publications. Her Sherlock Holmes and Alfred Hitchcock trivia books were finalists for the 2013 EPIC Award in nonfiction. Her nonfiction book, The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert Porter Allen Story, has been nominated for the George Perkins Marsh Award for environmental history.
The Author in all of us
There is a story inside. One that needs out and to be read by others. It's there and now it's time for it to flow from author to the reader. Join us as we celebrate Indie authors.