While Storm Clouds Gather

It’s said writing is hard. And it is. Yet there should be some fun in it.

Engraving of the Château de Bagnolet, Paris, 1730. [Wikipedia. Public Domain.]
Engraving of the Château de Bagnolet, Paris, 1730. [Wikipedia. Public Domain.]

I have learned after three novels, and continue to experience with this fourth, that characters can come to resonate with you almost in the same ways as do real people. As their personalities become clearer to you, you begin more easily to anticipate what they will think, how they will act, and what they are apt to say, in any given situation. It doesn’t start out that way, of course. It’s a process, and it takes hold of you slowly, almost imperceptibly, much as we experience with real people in our lives – we learn more about them thanks to our increasing interactions and the passage of time.

When you get to that point, that’s when writing fiction flows at its easiest. It’s when I find it to be the most enjoyable (and you hope your eventual readers will come to feel much the same way about the final product). Suddenly characters seem to be “alive” and you are sitting at your writing desk feeling you are just eavesdropping on them and tapping away as if you are merely transcribing what they’re up to and saying to each other.

I didn’t manage a blog post yesterday. I got caught up early in the day in writing that is, in the final analysis, what this blog is about: my latest book. This is a part of what these two were “up to” yesterday in the early summer of 1792…and which I, uh, saw and overheard while sitting here in 2016, and just “scribbled” down:

Sneak Peek from "Conventions." Click to expand.
Sneak Peek from “Conventions.” Click to expand.

Creating maturing and evolving characters may also be part of the journey and the challenge in writing a novel or a series: as time passes, they grow. Both the personal and political worlds for those above would change abruptly and a great deal in the weeks and months after that pleasant pre-dinner scene, and in ways that evening they never could have thought possible. They believed they had seen “bad” and “change” already, but are distant from, and largely ignorant of, a new crush of events – traumatic and some horrible – starting to unfold miles away even as they speak so lightheartedly to each other here.

If we think about it, much the same may well be said about us real people. We gather around a dinner table, enjoying each other’s company. Meanwhile, outside, what don’t we know…

Hope you are having a good day, wherever you are – and regardless of how I just finished that post. 🙂

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Author: “Conventions: The Garden At Paris,” “Passports,” “Frontiers,” and “Distances.” British Airways frequent flier. Lover of the Catskill Mountains...and the 1700s. New novel of 1797-1805, "Tomorrow The Grace," due out in 2019.

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