If only it were that easy. How many times have I read or heard this simple directive when it comes to writing?
Some writers extol the blank page. Like the empty canvas of the painter, anything is possible. The blank page staring back at me holds both the promise of a new chapter and the ramblings of my unconscious mind.
Dare I say I am not sure which is which sometimes?
When asked if I write in a linear fashion after first creating an outline, I usually smirk, then laugh, as I think of all the writings/ramblings I have created that remain in folders on my desktop computer, waiting to be born.
My writings stem from the voices in my head – yes, the voices of my vampires talking to me, prodding me to tell their stories. I cannot plan for it or schedule a time to “sit and write” in a disciplined fashion. Too many other parts of my life call to me and so when my muse taps on my shoulder through the voice of my main character, Christian Du Mauré, or his best friend, Michel Baptiste, or their mortal lover, Josette Delacore, I sit down and write what I hear and “see” in my mind.
It’s sort of like watching a film. I see them in a room, or wandering at night through Central Park, and as they converse I record it. Yes, I go back and edit it, and although each conversation may not be meaningful at that moment, it may become part of a chapter or even a whole chapter. I won’t know until I sit down and write.
I may “feel” Michel needing to say something to another character and so I sit and write his dialogue; whether it is in the here and now or in the eighteenth century. I visualize what my characters are wearing and feel their emotions – especially their loneliness and grief.
Slowly, the chapters fall into place and then I have Part One, and then Part Two.
When I begin a novel, I do not know where the story will take me, as the characters are continually surprising me. And although I may say to myself, “Christian feels so much guilt over leaving Josette behind,” I am never sure how to share this with the reader until I write it. He will tell me.
Writing is the unknowable, which is the magic and the maelstrom of my creativity.
I leave you with E.L. Doctorow who puts it so nicely -
“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”