Thursday, March 3, 2011

When Inspiration Hits

One of my current WIPs (WIP = work in progress) is something that is near and dear to my heart. I thought of the original idea that eventually grew into this story when I was a sophomore in high school. In many ways it was a reaction to Harry Potter, so yes, it involves wizards, but now it has gained a life of its own, and is a story that I think is worth telling and needs to be told.

So if this idea has been around so long, why haven't I written it? I've tried several times. I've started it so many ways. But every time I'll write three chapters and then falter. I can't go on. I'm no longer hearing it, feeling it. Somehow, what I'm writing is not true to the vision I feel in my heart.

Recently I've really struggled with it. I'd written six chapters, but I reached a wall. Not a wall of writer's block, I knew what should come next in this draft and know how to write it. No, this wall was a feeling that the story was failing, not staying true to what it should be.

In many ways this is the darkest story I've ever tried to write. It's a story of evil and its development, of how it slowly takes over. But my draft wasn't giving that feeling, that ambiance. It seemed too lighthearted, not enough darkness.

I thought of combining it with another WIP, trying to force them to come together to get that feel. But the characters wouldn't agree, they wouldn't mesh. It felt forced on every level.

So the story went on the back burner. I turned to another one while letting the juices of that story stew.

Then in class on Thursday, inspiration struck. I really can't describe it any other way.

I remembered the first line of one of my early drafts. I remembered the emotions I was trying to convey. And suddenly it was like I was hearing a voice speaking to me in my head. It was Chris, my main character, telling me his story.

I began writing in class, disregarding the lecture on statistics. I raced home, sat at my computer, and wrote for 4 hours. At the end of it, I had nearly 10,000 words. Ten thousand words that for the first time seem to get how this story is supposed to be.

Is it perfect? No. It'll all need revision of course, once I finish the story. But I think I've captured the voice, the mood, the feeling of darkness.

For the first time, I am confident that this start is one I can take to the finish with confidence. All I want to do is write in it.

This time Chris's story will be told and I'm thrilled.

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