Why write?

Where does the motivation to write come from? What makes you want to sit down at the computer, the typewriter, or the notebook and struggle to get the words down on paper? For me, it’s the story. The characters and some idea of the plot usually come to me at the same time. Maybe just a brief flash, and I really have no idea who the characters are just yet, but a glimpse of it just pops into my mind. Through Shadowed Stone came to me in a dream. A dream about a nomadic culture that moves around constantly, from place to place. I woke up thinking “Why do they move around so much? What are they running from?” And that was it for several years. In my mind, “the nomad story” just sat there, fermenting. And then one day, I realized that somehow a girl from this world belonged in that other, nomadic world, and that her name was Amaya. Oh, and one of the tribesmen was named Bowyn. Again, the idea sat there and did nothing but stew in its own juices.

Then, last year, around August or so, I think, I heard about NaNo, and thought “Hey, that sounds like a really cool idea.” I’d been struggling with Witches for a long time by then, over six years, and I think my brain needed a break. Suddenly, the nomad story sat up and took notice, raising its hand in the back of my mind and saying “I think I’m almost ready now.” And I knew what the nomads where running from. That’s how Through Shadowed Stone came to be. I wrote 80k words during NaNoWriMo 2006, and finished up the other 23k in December. I know that’s a lot of words, but I enjoyed writing the story. It was exciting to sit down at the computer and start typing. I wanted to know what happened!

That story was the first time I completely outlined a story before I started writing. (Okay, to be honest, Witches is the only other story I’ve ever written, and I had a small, partial outline of it that I strayed away from early in the writing. Say two years in.) I did a phase outline, which worked really well for me, since I could put in a bit of the scene and any really great snippets of detail that occurred to me. About halfway through the outline, I got a huge surprise, then several phases later, another. And still I was excited to start writing it. Couldn’t wait ’til writing time. I finished the story on New Year’s Eve.

Then I went back to Witches, determined to finally, finally finish it. This time my motivation wasn’t the excitement of the story. I’d lost a great deal of that in six years. But the characters wouldn’t leave me alone! (Still aren’t, as a matter of fact.) It was mainly Kahleena berating me, nagging at me to get going. Bali’s quieter, but she was there in the background, supporting Kahleena. And Julien…well, he’s more demanding. He insisted that I work on the story, and wouldn’t let me rest if I didn’t. So I did, and finished it up in February. I’m sort of working on editing it. It’s way too long, so I need to cut about half of it, and that’s a rather intimidating task for me, so I’m procrastinating.

I just started writing the story for my 2YN class on Forward Motion, and this one’s in first person, so it’s a bit of a struggle. The first chapter was hard, and it was only 1500 words! Now I’m working on Chapter Two, and it’s getting a bit easier. Samantha is coming through more clearly to me now. I have this one outlined, too, but it’s not quite as detailed as the outline for Through Shadowed Stone. I left some wiggle room, knowing I’ll need to add some things in (which is kind of new, since I have to cut so much from Witches). Right now, it’s the story that’s motivating me to write. Maybe soon it will be Samantha. Who knows?


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