What to Write?
When Kim asked me to guest blog, I wasn’t sure what to write about. It’s been a couple weeks, and I’m still not sure. Kim and I have known each other in the virtual world long enough to be real-life friends, so she’d know if I was giving her a bunch of BS. And then (again) I thought, “I’m not sure what to write about.”
And that’s what I’m writing about. That foggy, gray place in a writer’s mind where ideas are just not quite developed—yet. They’re large enough to tug at your sleeve and ask for a little attention. Persistent enough to be able to lose yourself in some research. But the nucleus of the tale remains elusive. It’s not unpleasant, because you can enjoy the feeling of sorting through ideas. The hard work has not yet begun.
I spend a lot of time there. From a practical standpoint, there are no new stories. There are old themes and memes and characters reborn in different places and times—but there are no new stories. We all know this and yet…this drive to create something new that is not new.
How does one get through the fog and grasp The Thing we really want to write about? For me, it’s a process, and I’ve learned not to rush though, lest I lose that feeling. I scout around for settings, both general and specific. What time frame best fits this slippery idea, and what does that look like? I poke around for representations of my elusive characters, so they might become more real. Again, this usually has more to do with what emotions do the images evoke—do they match the tone in my mind?
Sometimes there’s historical research to be done, and sometimes there’s other worlds to create from nothing. And at some mystical point, something becomes clear. Goals. Motivation. Conflict—yes, I use Deb Dixon’s formula, why do you ask? But it’s some thing enigmatic, something different for each story, that tells you when it’s ready. The idea has percolated long enough and it’s time to get to work. For me, that magic has to be strong enough to recall throughout the entire process, or else I lose interest, so the ground work, the research, is important to take me back to when this full-blown story was just a little, nagging thought in the back on my mind.
M.K. Chester is an award-winning, multi-published romance author who loves complex characters, off-beat eras, and of course, happy endings. When not writing, Marty works as a college administrator and history professor at a local creative college. She spends weekends cheering at her son’s basketball games, and the rest of her ‘free’ time corralling two beastly Scottish Terriers, Stewie and Angus. She is published with Carina Press and The Wild Rose Press, and you can find her at these virtual locations: