Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Blinking into that other world

I forget where I was this morning, but I was waiting for something and looked idly out the window. I saw a freight truck with “Panther” emblazoned across the side. Oh, thought I, that might make a great name for a music label, or maybe a tour promoter group, or maybe an album/CD. I’ve always been intrigued by words, as I suppose many writers are. Since I’ve thrown myself heedlessly into my novel, though, I seem to have gotten swallowed by words.

It’s the whole story immersion thing. I’m always -- and I mean always -- thinking about my characters and the story, often unconsciously. Bits of otherwise nonexistent scenes pop into my head while I’m at work or tooling down the road, sometimes with such startling clarity that I catch my breath. Recently something got me thinking about where it would be best to end the story; I had one end point in mind but have begun to think I might need to extend it to wrap up properly.

Abruptly I dropped into the middle of a conversation Neal was having with a woman, whose daughter may or may not be his. I can see Neal as clearly as I see this laptop. I’ve known about the woman (Maria) and the girl for some months now but this scene was unexpected. She said something about her boyfriend possibly abusing the little girl. Her boyfriend came into the room and Neal rounded on him, stalking right up to the guy’s face.

“You touched that little girl? You put a hand on her? What did you do to her?”

Understand that this scene happens some four years after the novel starts. Neal’s been through a lot of ups and downs in those years and has put the loss of his four kids mostly behind him. This has brought everything back. His friends mean the world to him but blood family has always been the most special. Watching his friends with their own families makes the loss of his own that much harder. In one short span of time, he meets a man who says he’s Neal’s biological father (who is obviously a miserable excuse for a human being) and a teenager who says he’s Neal’s half-brother. Now he might have a daughter. To say he feels protective and possessive is the understatement of the decade.

“You again?” Jorge stood at least two inches taller and stared evenly at Neal.

“I said, what did you do to her?”

Jorge’s dark eyes dared him to do something. “What’s it to you?”

That sounded like an admission. His fist connected with Jorge’s jaw and sent him sprawling to the floor.

“Stop it,” Maria shouted.

In case she was planning on pulling Neal away, he threw himself at Jorge.

-- It fades here. This is what keeps me writing, it’s my drug rush; those half-scenes where “people” are really alive can make everything else completely disappear.

Several years ago, I indulged in some fan fiction online. The woman who gave me the most encouragement said, “If you see it, write it.” That’s got to be some of the best writing advice ever given. I haven’t finished the scene where Neal finds out his older kids have been murdered, but it’s never good to keep a muse waiting.


  1. Nice scene! And some great advice, because if you can see it that clearly in your head, you can make the reader see it that clearly, too. :D

  2. Nothing beats the rush of a great scene pouring out of your fingers. :)

  3. there is nothing better than when the characters seem to write the scene for you!

  4. I love having a scene pop up in my head or a sudden realization that makes an entire section of plot suddenly work!

  5. Thanks guys. And sorry it took me forever to get back to this; I had a 2nd pt-time job but it was temp and it's **over** now!!! Ah, time to write and read, yumm!

    It is pretty cool to have that movie play in your head, ain't it. I feel sorry for people who don't do that. :)