I’ve been writing since I was 10 years old, and what I’ve learned is that the writing process is never the same for any one of my pieces. Sometimes the story takes me along for the ride while other times my imagination is driving the storyline. Half of the time the place is central while the other half is character-focused. On occasion the pace is quick and succinct, while most of the time the narrative is detailed and descriptive. Sometimes I write in first person while other times I prefer a third person perspective.
But every single piece I write has a bit of my soul in it, whether it be a short story, a poem, an essay, a blog entry, or even a novel. Someone once said that we write what we know, and I wholeheartedly agree. That doesn’t mean, though, that I think all of my characters are me. Quite the contrary. While they all have a piece of me none of them are ever wholly me, which is the point. Having a cast of characters, each with bits and pieces of me, makes them all my family, and what a sordid and diverse family I have after more than 27 years of writing.
There’s the man who goes back to a house he knows is haunted because he wants to see those ghosts one more time before they kill him. And the woman who breaks up with a man outside of a rest stop because he just wasn’t good enough for her. I enjoyed the kid who ran away from home to find out that the world wasn’t all that he thought it was supposed to be, and ended up coming back home to find out he wasn’t even missed. And it couldn’t be a real family without the woman who dreamed dreams that became real when she woke up.
They’re all a part of my family, for better or for worse, but mostly for better because I’m a better person for having known them, for having their stories flow through my fingers and darken my pages with language, with dialogue, and with… character. Today I can officially add another heroine to my family by virtue of her telling me her story over the course of the past three months, and now that tale is done… at least until the first edit. Welcome, Christina, to the family. Let’s hope you don’t mind a little dysfunction.