The Chicken or the Egg?

A-Character

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What part of a story do you “get” first? What do you choose to develop first? Is it a character, the plot, a setting? How do you begin getting creative?

If you’re like me, there’s no set answer to this question. My first novel attempt, with the working title Colorblind (no, this is not my NaNoWriMo novel), did not begin in my head with any characters or a plot, but with a house. I described the house, then in popped a character. Why was she going to the house? What’s so important about this house?

For my NaNoWriMo Novel, the idea came first. What if someone lied about their lives for years and were about to be found out? Would they just give up and admit it? Once I had my MC, I knew that she might fold and not do it. But then in came her best friend, and I knew I had something to work with.

What comes first, the name or the noun? Do you have in mind a specific type of character or place, then name it, or do you name it first and build around things associated with the name? Again, with me this is far from a concrete process. Sometimes I hear a name and build a character around it; sometimes I develop a character and find a name to suit. Neither way seems to work better or worse for me.

It all depends on the story. There are some stories that I’ve written that I wouldn’t have written had I known at the beginning what they would be about; I have to be eased into the weighty topics. Sometimes, I get ideas and I think to myself, I don’t have the talent/skill set/time to do justice to this. But then I’ll have a character or setting and start writing, and the same idea will work its way in. Now the idea can be worked with a bit. Now maybe I can do it.

Tell me about your writing process. Where do you begin? What do you find works best when developing a story? Do you have a different process for novels than you do for short stories? What about poetry?

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Your Introductory Course to Me

Misery (novel)

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“Hello there,” you say, staring at the back of my head, angling your neck to try and get a better view of my face. I see you clearly reflected in the window in front of me. “I thought that was you!”

You appear delighted to see me, but I have no idea why. I’ve been dodging you for days, turning into alleys and crossing the street without thought to danger or destination whenever I saw your beige trenchcoat and stylized bedhead hair.

I’ve been waiting for you to catch me, turn your head faster than I can duck out of sight and raise a casual hand of greeting. I thought you had once, but you were signally a taxi. It made my heart race to almost be caught, just as it’s beating now…

I turn and extend a hand, one corner of my mouth upturned, the other a straight slash…

***

All of the above is fiction. I don’t make a habit of dodging people, but I am not a fan of introducing myself either. I usually don’t spend much time doing so (as my other blogs will attest). I usually just jump right in with wherever I am and catch you up as we go along. So, without further ado my life right now:

  • I am participating in NaNoWriMo; in other words, I am a nutcase. I still don’t know why I signed up for it. This is my first time attempting it, and I am well below the total I’m supposed to have at this point. More on this later.
  • Oh, and my NaNoWriMo novel is my first attempt at Chick Lit. Oh, boy, will you hear more on that later.
  • I am reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt. It’s a well written book. I found it a little slow at first, but I’m beginning to see her genius. I usually read on my lunch break from work (I work for a company and do stuff–I’m sorry; that was deliberately vague). So far, on said lunch break, I’ve read Stephen King‘s Misery, Carrie, & It, along with a litany of Harlequin romance novels; I am now attempting to be more literary.
  • I’m moving in two weeks time, which only adds to the fun of working, reading, and writing–with packing!
  •  I think this is one of the coolest blog names ever!
  • There are a million and one things to do to this blog–I hope you stay around long enough to see me at my best
  • Yes, I realize I spelled “copyright” wrong; that was intentional.
  • This blog, at the moment, will be about me as a writer, reader, and literary thinker. However, due to chronic random-itis, I may digress into random observations that have nothing to do with any of the aforementioned things.
  •  Does anyone else feel like Paul Sheldon in Misery sometimes?–Not that some crazed fan is breaking your legs and holding you hostage, but that writing, while slow at first, sort of becomes a rabbit hole for you, to get away from all the pressure and stress of the everyday? I also feel like writing is something I can’t afford to not do–albeit for a different reason.

Enough of my rambling. Welcome. Kick of your shoes and stay a while. Pardon the mess.