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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Sunday, September 17, 2006

My Story Angels

Some writers have muses. I have story angels. And they are tough as nails and stubborn to boot. I've had my new single title, BERRY'S LICK, rolling around in my head for nearly a year now. It had structural problems. It didn't follow any of the previous story structures I'd dealt with. It had this huge backstory that had a critical impact on the "now" of the story and I wasn't sure I could deliver it in bits and pieces and still make sense of the current story.

As much as I tried to hold it back, the story angels would have their say. Since I tell stories that deal with family relationships, Lola's story (my heroine's aunt) would have to be told before I could tell my heroine, Darcie's story, at least in the first draft. So I took notepad and pen to my grandmother's rocking chair, the place I usually go when the writing gets tricky. For a week, Lola spewed out her story in diary form while I took dictation. It felt good just to write again after being stuck with the story burning in my brain. Any direction was better than no direction. I figured the characters would tell me how the story needed to be told eventually. Trust the process. Right. How had I forgotten that bit of wisdom I'd learned several manuscripts ago?

Mark Twain says there is only one right form for a story. Until you find the right form, the story won't tell itself. I guess, until then, we writers just poke around in the dark. Some might say knowing the right form comes from experience. I'm not so sure that's true. Each story is different. When I felt a momentary urge to throw in the towel on my work-in-progress, my story angels were there tossing me crumbs--giving me one more piece to the puzzle. I honestly have begun to feel, I was chosen to tell this particular story. Until I get the whole thing down on paper, it's not going to leave me alone. So I'm giving myself up to the process while I search for the right form. Mr. Twain assures me that I may go down several wrong roads, but then he assures me that I won't get too far before the story will stop and decline to go any further, if I'm on the wrong path. I'm going to trust my story angels to lead me at least in the correct general direction since it's at their insistence that I write this story. Trust in the process. Right. Got it.



At 6:06 PM, Blogger Jennifer Smith/Ila Campbell said...

I'm beginning to think I have a story angel, too. The YA fantasy I'm working on right now came to me full-fledged in a dream, complete with moral, themes, surprise ending and everything!

My CP called it a "gift" book. Maybe from my story angel??

At 9:34 PM, Blogger Diane Perkins said...

Lorelle, I thought you were going to say Mark Twain said there was only one way to write a story and nobody knows what it is.
What is that quote? I'm thinking of???

At 9:52 AM, Blogger Karen said...

Great post, Lorelle. Lately it feels like I've been trying to drag the stories out of myself. Maybe I should let the angels (or Mark Twain) give it to me instead.



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