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At this time last week, I was consumed with ideas for one of my series. Although the plan for the next few weeks did not include writing, I couldn’t get the series out of my head and set to work revisiting a book that I had attempted to write over four years ago. Combing through my documents, I found two very lengthy character bios, one for the main character and one for a friend of hers.
It may sound odd, but I really didn’t remember putting so much effort into writing these bios; but I was happy to find them because they contained a lot of the ideas I had for the entire series, spanning several years. What I did remember from the time when I first came up with the concept was some research that I had done, but for some reason, I couldn’t find any of it. Of course, this means that I needed to do it again, because if you hadn’t noticed by now, I can’t do anything without first doing extensive research. Even if I don’t retain half of what I’ve looked up, I feel better just for having done it.
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I got so caught up in the research over the next day or two that I only managed to write the opening for the book. After that, the creative ideas that had been bombarding me, slowly but surely subsided and I was able to focus on my reading, which was my original plan. I managed to finish one book and make significant headway in a book that I am critiquing for a fellow author.
The second book is taking me a little longer than usual because I want to try to be as thorough as possible. I don’t think I was really built to be a book critic because when I read, I don’t analyze the book word for word the way I have seen in many reviews. Instead, I base my opinion on how the storyline grabs my attention or fails to. Does the story make sense or is it something I wish could really happen? I focus on the characters and whether or not I can relate to them. Do they remind me of myself or anyone I know? I let my emotions take the lead. Did I feel the emotion the author was trying to convey allowing me to feel what the character(s) felt? If the answer to these questions is yes, then I count that as a good book.
I don’t try to discover hidden meanings in what I’ve read. I don’t pick the story apart and question each and every choice the author made. I don’t take it so seriously that I fail to find the magic of the portrait the author is trying to paint. To me, this is like looking at the Mona Lisa and wondering why da Vinci didn’t choose a happier model, a lusher landscape, or a more cheerful color palette. The Mona Lisa would not be the Mona Lisa if da Vinci had made any other choices; yet, this simple work of art is one of the most famous paintings, still known to the masses after over 500 years.
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But, I digress. Having reverted back to my original plan, the writing is once again on hold. The focus is on reading and eagerly awaiting feedback on my novel that was submitted for peer review about a week and a half ago. I’m trying not to do any writing in an effort to clear my head and prepare for the feedback I get. If I set my mind to having the novel go a certain way, then I won’t be open to hearing the feedback I get and won’t be able to grow and learn how to become a better writer.