Monday, June 28, 2010

MONDAY MUSINGS: The Ah HA Moments Of Discovery

I love how a story goes from a nebulous idea to something real. It takes on a life of its own, the characters become real with quirks you didn’t even know. Or if you’re writing a trait I love it when there’s that ah-ha moment and you know why the character has that foible.

The story I’m writing now, for instance. My heroine would finger her pendant. That’s how I saw her. I didn’t think anything of it other than I knew it was silver with a moon and a howling wolf it had something green on it but I didn’t pay attention. I’ve seen pendants similar and was probably channeling the Pyramid catalog. More scenes go by and I’m enjoying this story. A lot. Enter the hero, who I might add, is one hawt guy. As he walks up to her she again reaches for her pendant, but not just because it’s a nervous affectation, but also because it became hot to the touch—enough that she felt it was burning her skin. Hmmm. Where did that come from? I haven’t a clue other than I now knew it had something to do with the hero. It’s still not totally clear what the deal with this pendant but I’m enjoying getting clues.

It was the same with the gatepost in her yard. I knew as I was writing it was a gatepost and at the time it was a *prop*. The heroine is also a wildlife photographer and one of the ways she relaxes is by playing the guitar in the evenings. The cabin is some distance from anywhere, which makes sense for the story. She tends to pat this gatepost now and then. She also sees wildlife outside her gate where she sits to play her music. So this animal has been showing up frequently. In one scene, she’s gone into the house but is looking out the window at the animal, which is eyeing the fence and gate. I make another discovery. The gatepost is actually a totem. Who knew? I didn’t until that moment.

The totem was carved by a cousin who is Native American, and the top of the totem is a male wolf showing it’s teeth, the next figure is of a woman, hair blowing in the wind and two hands, palms up and in one is a moon and the other a green butterfly, or lunar moth. Under that is a female wolf with a cub and a baby Lynx playing.

I actually sat down and drew what it was although I didn't have a way to picture it here.

So now I understand the pendant better and I know the meaning of the totem figures. The fact remains, I didn’t plan on these objects when I thought of the story. I usually have an idea, a what if…Then the characters come together and the general story line. I know the ending, the enemy, some of the general issues. It lives in my head for a good while before I start typing.

With this particular story, quite a bit of research was needed. I have tons of notes on the area, on facets of the premise, her line of work—trust me, I’m very much an amateur photographer so getting the correct equipment she uses is important. And of course, I did quite a bit of research on the Native American tribes of the area.

For me, it’s fun to make discoveries along the way when writing a story and it’s happened numerous times with several stories. It's one way I know my characters or world are now real to me.

What about when you’re writing? Do you have those moments of discovery?

Couple of things to announce. Kate Douglas has generously decided to award a book to every person who commented on her blog from Friday to Sunday. For those of you who haven't left an email addy, contact me at siamckye at with your address and I will pass it on to Kate. She will then contact you as far as your mailing address and books available.

 WEDNESDAY'S guest Blogger, Marie Force, with her newest Romantic Suspense series: Fatal Affair.

FRIDAY, July 1st, Kathyrne Kennedy and an excerpt of her fabulous new book, Fire Lord's Lover!

My apologies to her fans who stop by today expecting to see Kathryne. Due to a glitch we had the wrong dates. Stop back by Friday-Sunday. We will be giving away copies of Fire Lord's Lover. 
Wolf print is by a favorite artist of mine. If you wish to see some of her work click here.