It’s such an odd thing. My brother just sent his last kid off to college this year. He’s no longer coaching soccer, no longer driving and picking up kids. He’s not a TV fan and while he reads he’s not an insane reader like me (Who thought it would be a good idea for me to get a Kindle? I’m walking around with unlimited books in my purse. Not good!).
Anyway, he says, to put it quite bluntly, he’s going insane. He’s turned his hand to cooking, training his new puppy in Frisbee toss and ... he wants to write a book.
My brother is famous for “having an idea”. Over the years he’s always told me … Hey Steph… I have this idea. I smile and nod and let him go on. He actually inspired one of my books. Not his idea at all, but one kernel of what he said later became one of my Bombshells.
When he talks about his ideas, he does talk like a writer. I mean it’s there. He sees the characters, he sees their actions. He sees how they interact with one another. I think you have to have that bit of creativity in order to be a fiction writer. I don’t know how else you do it unless you see or hear the characters in your mind. Kind of like the Michelangelo approach to sculpture.
I don’t sit down and think about what I make. I take the image that’s in my head already and just pull it out and put it on paper.
So for me a writer has to have those images, that picture, those characters already in there and then figure out what all those people in your head are doing so you can effectively tell their story. Would you all agree? Or do you think you can build a character from the ground up? I don’t know.
But then there is the work of writing. He asked me, so how do I start? What do I do? And I drew a blank. The obvious answer is to start with page one, but I think he was looking for more of a guideline as to how it all works. How does one sit down and write a book.
I did say – because I learned this only when I met other writers - everyone has their own process. You have to find out what works for you. But it felt a little bit like if I asked someone how to cook - they might answer you need to try different things and see what taste combinations make sense.
Huh? I couldn’t do much with that. As a result – I’m not much of a cook.
I ask you - do you have books you would recommend on getting started? Would have some advice for a person who literally has never attempted such a thing before? Tell him to try plotting? Try pantsing? I mean I just don’t know.
For me one day I sat down and started to write stuff. Seems like pretty weak advice.