Crafting a story

So I’m back at writing in a big way thanks to Beverley Kendall’s advice on putting up multiple pieces of a series at the same time.  As I revisit the sequel to People of the Green Hills, tentatively titled Bend of the River, I am struck by how much I enjoy the crafting of a story.

When I give you a character, I want that character’s eyes to follow you around the room like a painting by an old master. Though I don’t actually say the words “she is breathing,” your picture of her (or him) should include the rise and fall of her chest. I may say her complexion is pale or tan or dark or ruddy, but in your mind’s eye it should be undertoned with the pulsing of oxygenated blood in her veins.  When he (or she) is nervous, excited, or afraid, I want you, the reader, to feel the fluttering butterflies in your stomach, or the pounding of your heart against the inside of your chest, or the terror of icy fingers grabbing your guts and twisting until you bend over from the pain.

My goal is for you to be transported from where you are sitting to the world I have created as surely as you have just stepped out of your car for a scenic stop.  The colors should be so vibrant and textures so soft or coarse or smooth that they seem as real as the tangible elements in your environment.  Flowers and grasses should wave and sway in a gentle breeze, and you should feel that gale coming off the sea as though you can barely stand against its force.

I want you to hear the water running over river rocks, to put your hand on a horse’s side and feel its strength and life, to feel the weight of a dog’s head on your lap or a sleeping baby in your arms.  I listen to music that informs the story like a soundtrack, sometimes searching an hour just to find the right piece to capture my mood, then trying to ingrain the strains so deeply in the words that you don’t even realize you are hearing them in the background.

It takes me forever to write a book because I live through every circumstance and emotion my characters have. I am trying to bring to you, the reader, the story as real as I experience it before it makes it to the page. Sometimes it is frustrating to see how quickly other truly talented, professional, writers can turn out a book, and a really good one at that.  That is not my gift.  My blessing has always been a great imagination and the ability to create a world more real than my real one where I can live as long as no one disturbs my reverie.  To take you along with me, to help you see what I see, to give you brief respite from the stresses and obligations of your life, that is my goal.

God, I love to write!

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