Evidently, whiskey is a better choice for literary lubricant than tequila.
Make good choices, authors.
So the past few days have been great for feedback for The Spark That Left Us.
Two different people contacted me to say, “hey, love what you did, and the ending absolutely killed me (how could you?!)”
And to be perfectly honest, that made me feel good. To do what wasn’t expected, and also – that they felt invested enough in the characters to tell me off for my (admittedly) evil deeds. It’s hard to spend so much time, so many hours, with characters that are essentially, born, raised, and killed inside your own head. I’ve always been an avid reader and I always disassociated the writer with the novel. But I’ve now experienced that it isn’t so true as you might think. Your heart breaks for what you put them through, despite the fact that they aren’t real. But they’re real enough to you. You’ve fabricated an entire existence that never existed. If you think hard enough, you know every little detail about them, you know them better than anyone else, so it feels interesting when others pick up on that. They fall in love with these people too. And they’re just as crushed when something horrible happens.
It’s an interesting sensation.
A third person also confessed to have started, and to admit that “there’s something real dark there, I wasn’t expecting it!”.
Again, there’s that phrasing – I wasn’t expecting it.
And makes me wonder, if they didn’t know me – would they have expected it? As an author, am I fooling the reader – or fooling those who know me?
And there’s a question for me to study on, and as I collect more information, I’ll let you know.
I’ve heard a few times now, that Deke’s flashback is one of the preferred chapters in The Spark That Left Us. He’s one of the few characters with an acknowledged back story, a history. Writing events currently happening to your characters is easy. You write it. It happens. You feel that little twist, since you’re responsible for that happening, whether they love or laugh or cry or scream. It’s you. All you.
But when it comes to writing the past, there’s a slew of consequences that follows. If I do this, how do they act now? If I say this, how does the ripple affect every other character in your story, what they do, how they react.
Additional issues, with the mythos that fills The Spark That Left us – is that no one can trust the construct of their reality. Then you end up in a situation where, do they know this even happened? Would they react differently if they knew it did?
So now, while writing (the tentatively titled) Sparks Ignite – although being set in the future, a year onward from the final events of The Spark That Left Us, there has been a backslide into the past, events that shaped where the characters were lined up in order to pursue the events of TSTLU, in order for them to understand what is happening to them now. And I am in constant fear of, what if something happens, something brilliantly important happens – and suddenly casts a shadow over TSTLU?
“Slowly the color came back to my cheeks, the terror in my eyes slowly trickling away. Things weren’t fine. Not really, not at all. But at least I still wasn’t one of them. I flushed at the thought. They weren’t monsters; I needed to stop thinking of them that way. One of them was my baby sister for Pete’s sake, and no matter what she needed me. And Deke well, he needed me too. I heard the front door slam, groceries dropping heavily to the floor. “
The sudden realization that the book will be going into new hands, being read by fresh eyes, processed by new brains next weekend is terrifying to me.
This was a pet project, a hobby, a personal goal.
The moment I decreed (and it was an announcement) that I was following through with this – that it wasn’t simply an agreement to move forward, but an agreement to bare my soul, that was the moment that I had to swallow all my fears.
I hope as the book moves forward through inner circles, that I will eventually generate the strength I need to be public, no matter if I fail or succeed.
“If I had known, that one week was all that was left, maybe I would have paid attention. If I had known, maybe I would have taken a little more time to care.
But I hadn’t known, as most of us don’t, the path my day, and week would end up taking, a foreign route, bizarre to me, controlled by the forces in the world of which we have no perception, and I had failed to see the big picture, let alone the consequences of anyone else’s actions.
But it’s always in the details, isn’t it? Just those little tattered pieces of information, the love notes to a better time, and a better place, that can hold the key to catching onto the reality of a situation.”
There’s a pretty real disconnect in the way I feel about writing in the first-person, and in the amount of description that is available to give in a scene.
When there are a lot of “I” statements – I walked, I talked, I breathed, I cried – are you truly thinking about the description of the environment around “you”?
“The sun rose large and red, vibrant across the horizon, the clouds scuttling by in an endless procession of darks and lights scattering across the barren earth,”
Do you honestly think this to yourself, in the narration of your life?
Practice it – walk down the street, and describe in your head exactly what you are seeing it, as you are seeing it, void of personal pronouns – and try to think how it fits into a first person narrative. Hard right? It’s a fine line to cross – but someone had to do it.
What would you do, if you found a stranger in your house?
Run? Scream? Call the police?
Now, what would you do if his first act, after invading your home, your space, your privacy – was to protect you from the unknown?
What would you do, if you found out your sister, your brother, all the family you had in the world, were involved?
What would you do –
if you couldn’t remember that you were involved too?
Welcome to the blog dedicated to the new novel,
The Spark That Left Us
I will be providing as many updates through this blog as I can – so you can follow along with the life and birth process of a first time novel.