Saturday, May 1, 2010

BEHIND EVERY GREAT NOVEL. . .

When I began writing SILENT KNIGHT about eight months ago, so many ideas rushed through my mind.  The characters were so strong in my mind, I couldn't get everything down that they were trying to tell me.  My creativity comes from my dreams, and yes, somewhere along my subconscious I suppose a lot of the characters are people I actually know, events that actually happened, and really deep down, things I've been through~~it's all apart of what makes me who I am, and why I write.

The characters you'll meet in my latest novel are ordinary people with many stories to share.  And it is those stories that will captivate you down to the end.  I cannot tell you what this story is about, because YOU the reader will figure that out as you go along, but what I can tell you is you'll learn that everything you think you know about people closest to you, you truly have no idea.  Which begs the question, do you really know everything about the people you're related to, your friends, co-workers or acquaintances?

The answer is NO, we do not, and I guess there is a good reason for that because if you were to know everything about a person, where would the mystery lie in life?  When my characters invaded my memory bank, the things they shared with me were shocking.  And the way they expressed themselves felt so real, when I woke up and began typing what they said, I could have sworn I actually knew them. 

Many of you have asked me where do I get my inspiration from, and as I mentioned before, usually when I sleep, that's where my stories come to life.  It's like I'm sitting in a movie theater, with a big bag of popcorn and a nice soft drink, my feet propped up on the chair in front of me, and I'm the only moviegoer sitting there, and up on the silver screen, these characters begin to tell me a story.  I've even had characters come through the screen, as I sit and watch the story unfold, and they tell me, this is what I would like you to do, or this is how you should convey this, and when I awake, I get busy. 

What's funny is when I wrote MELLO & JUNE, June screamed at me to get up and start writing what she was saying.  Her voice startled me so much, I shot out of bed and grabbed my notepad and started writing down her words.  Some of you shared that MELLO & JUNE reads like a movie, well now you know why, because that is exactly how I write, what I see up on the silver screen in my mind.

I've been creating stories like this all of my life.  Every story I've ever written comes across as a movie in my mind, and I write down what I see.  The movies in my mind are so strong, I can smell what my characters smell, I can feel the pain that they feel, I can even touch what they touch and move about as they move from one area to another.  I see every characteristic that individual has, and I even feel how they connect to others they reveal to me.

Does that sound creepy?  Well if it doesn't, it sure as hell does to me!  Imagine being a five year old, and a character you've never seen in your life, starts to talk to you and tells you to write what they say and what they reveal.  Am I crazy, perhaps, but it's what makes me the artist I am.  So when people ask me how long have I been writing, literally all of my life, I just kept my stories to myself, and only shared very little with my immediate family.

I remember when I was in third grade and my English teacher asked us to write a creative story and make it different, based on the objects we could see in the classroom.  Well, of course, I had to be different.  Instead of writing what I saw in the classroom, I got a strong urge that told me to go look out the window.  And when I did, I saw the play yard out back, and off to the left of the yard was some grass with little dandelions growing.  At the time I thought nothing of it.

When I got home that night, I went to bed, and I dreamt of the play yard and that patch of grass.  One bold dandelion popped up on the silver screen, and started telling me its story.  When I got to school the next morning, I wrote what the flower said.  I turned in my paper and couldn't wait for my teacher to tell me how she enjoyed it.  She randomly selected papers from the stack, and when she began reading mine aloud, I was all too happy.

But, my happiness was short lived.  After she read some of our stories, and it was time for us to leave for the day, she called me up to her desk.  She said, "Kimberly that was a very nice story you wrote," and she looked down at my paper, "but you didn't follow the assignment I gave you."  I was confused and upset.  So I tried explaining, but to no avail.  "I asked you to write about something in the classroom, and you wrote about something outside." 

As I stood before her, shaking and getting angrier by the minute, I replied, "I did follow your instructions. . .I was sitting in the classroom, and I wrote about an object I could see, and it was pretty creative.  My mom liked the story!"  She folded her arms and looked at me.  "Well, I tell you what," she said, "I'll give you an 'A' for creativity because it was very well written, but you get an "E" for not following what I asked you to do."  I responded, "OK, but the play yard is on school grounds, and that dandelion told me to write this story, and that's what I did.  I can't help where I get my ideas from. . ." and I added, "you said do something creative and different, and that's exactly what I did."

I grabbed my book bag and stormed out of her classroom.  The look on this teacher's face was a true "Kodak moment!"  I had that kind of spunk even in the third grade.  And that still holds true for me today.  I don't know where my inspiration comes from, but no matter what, I follow whatever it tells me, and it has never told me wrong yet.  Obviously, my talent was given to me in this form, and I obey it, and let it guide me as it sees fit.  And, finally, my weird way of writing has paid off, I'm an author now, and becoming more known, and so I say to my third grade teacher, TAKE THAT~~Ha!  (chuckle).

AND THE MORAL TO THE STORY IS:  Whatever talents you possess and whatever works for you, never let anyone tell you how to use it.  And remember, you will not be able to please everyone with the talent you've been blessed with, but always stay true to yourself!  You own your creativity from beginning to end, and it's up to you to handle it as you see fit.  Many of you have said you are really looking forward to my latest novel, and more novels down the line, this is why I shared with my fans, where my creativity comes from.  Behind every great novel I write, is a silver screen in my mind with characters driving me wild telling me what to do!  How does creativity live in you? (laugh)!

HAPPY READING, and look out for SILENT KNIGHT, another great novel sure to please and keep you interested until the very last word is read!  Thanks for your support, and more importantly, I thank God for my talent!