Tuesday, September 14, 2010. . . Tis the season of getting to know the characters.
It’s a plowing sort of work. A hundred acres, planted row by row by row. Imagined together, the overview, outline, theme, title, and character sketches are huge. I try to get my arms around it all. It’s too much. I have to slow it down, plant one seed at a time, one name, one plot line, one setting, one crisis, one thread. And yet I have to see the field alive and full of corn stalks.
Surprises surprised me: I adore the teenage girl. She’s very “out there” but her heart shows. I am in love with the husband/stepdad. Tender, thoughtful, committed, real, insightful, giving. A Jesus figure? The wife/mother is a bundle of hurts and I ache for her and admire her and can’t wait to put her in print.
I listen for their voices. I look for paradox and motives and wounds and mystery. I worry about jumping all over the board but it’s always like this. I need a general structure in the beginning – even though most of it will change before I type “The End.” I need details as well – what is the girl’s best friend’s name? – so later they will not bog me down.
DETAILS . . . Walk on the pier. Email from a high school reader in Australia, talk with my mom, massage, bike ride with My Guy after he pumps air into my flat tires, Sue Thomas FBEye rerun, and a quote from Richard Rohr:
“Somewhere each day we have to fall in love, with someone, something, some moment, event, phrase, word, or sight. Somehow each day we must allow the softening of the heart.”