“A pattern just has so much possibility.”
This statement, by a friend who loves to sew, seemed counterintuitive to me. Doesn’t a pattern, by its very nature, restrict what can be done? Although I am not a seamstress or designer or even very good at putting decent clothes on myself, you would not think I should have much in common with this woman. But, we bonded over fabric. I love, love, love fabric. It is like art to me. And if I could buy new fabric every day, I would. I have no idea what I would do with any of it since I can’t sew, and without Giranimals I would be helpless at matching outfits, but still, I love the texture and color and creativity that beautiful fabric has.
So, from this context, I totally understood what my friend meant by a pattern having possibility. With one type of fabric it could be one thing… with another, something entirely different.
This, to me, is very like a story outline. Have you ever heard of writers scared to share their work with others because someone might steal their story? It is funny, sort of. Because in truth, most story lines have already been written. This is how we get the archetypes, like the hero, and villain, and jester. It is in how you put these different elements together that makes something new. And then, it is in how you dress them- not literally, obviously, but figuratively. It is the writing of the characters that brings each story to life.
And this is why, right now, I am spending a lot of time getting to know my characters from my new project, Jane and Harry. Some of them are right out there… like their very personalities, ready to jump in and get started with the writing. Malcolm, the hero, is like this. He taunts me to get started and get to know him as I write. Anna, the main character and mom, is more reserved and complex. She’s not entirely sure she is ready for her story to be told, and she is making me work at understanding her, just as she too will work throughout the story, to better understand herself. The most fun character to write is the 20 year old daughter, Tiffany. Like most new adults, she constantly feels the tension within herself of wanting to be on her own and yet hesitant to give up the innocence and security of youth.
Sooooo much possibility! Like the best pattern, my story outline lays flat on my table, ready for me to begin pinning scraps of each character onto it. I can’t wait to go on this journey with them… and with you.
"Welcome to England."
And... welcome back to my blog. I know it has been a while. I've been a careless mistress these last many months and I apologize. I'm ready to re-enter your lives, if you'll have me. And I come to you with some fun, and funny, and downright crazy stories from my own journeys right now. I also bring to you the voice of my daughter.... who is posting her part of the trip on her own blog, THE DAILY BRAT (name chosen by her!)
I thought it appropriate that she should blog as well, since the reason for this trip is to inspire and do research for my next book - a new take on Pride and Prejudice. I've added the brief synopsis to my WORLD OF MY BOOKS page of my website. As I've yet to come up with a suitable title, let's just call it - ANNA'S PRIDE for now.
Already we have been here for five days. Such full and busy ones, in fact, that neither Faith (my daughter) nor I have had a chance to kick off this blog-fest. And, if they are any indication of what's to come, I'm not sure how many posts we will make before all is done and we are on the return trip to the U.S. in mid-August. I'll try to tweet moments out every now and then (@dwilsted) or add your email to the RSS feed at the top/right of this page to get an automatic notice when I have posted something new.
For now I am thrilled to report that we are basically over our jet-lag now. The trip was incredibly easy... certainly not what I was expecting with a two huge bags, me and my ten year old, and a red-eye. My ever supportive husband, Jeff, met us on the other side (he had just completed a business trip to Europe) and is staying for a week to help me with this first part of the research.
None-the-less, I find when I am in research/inspiration mode I am mostly living in my own brain. No one but another writer could probably understand the thrill I felt when I walked through Leavesden Studios (where they filmed most of the Harry Potter movies - for its context re: my book, be sure to read the synopsis.) Suddenly, faced with the amazing artistry required for creating the sets and props, the hero in my story came to life in front of my eyes.
Should I write, should I look around, should I take photos. I was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of inspiration in front of me. In fact, I did all three.... and then I talked with people, interviewed a prop craftsman who worked on HP (Adrian Getley), and recorded my thoughts on everything for processing at some future point when I return back to the very un-magical world of my own home.
How could I blog any of this, I wondered? Well, I'm still getting my head around it, but here's what I have figured out so far; the more I experience, the more my character will experience. So, for example, last night we landed in a rather dodgy (like my British there;>) Inn. My daughter, whom I have apparently spoilt to the point where she was in tears by this, couldn't imagine staying. We lasted a night, which was fine.... and over a brilliant dinner at a local pub called, the George (p.s. thanks Spencer for turning things around for us), the linkages to the storyline began to flow through my brain faster than the lovely local beer I was drinking....
Anna and her daughter, Tiffany, would end up at that hotel as well. They would get in a huge fight. Tiffany (much older than my ten year old daughter) would storm off, and Anna, done with her tirades, would let her. Later she would get worried and track her to the pub where she would find Tiffany sitting with the hero, Malcolm. The argument forgotten, Tiffany would enthusiastically tell her mother all about Malcolm's invitation to stay with him nearby.....
I am often asked how I write and I can give no clearer description than this example above. It comes to me by living it and molding the experiences I have, like a sculptor does with clay, into something new.
It's been too long since I have gotten my hands dirty like this and I am loving every moment of it. Won't you come join me on my own journey inspired by my love of writing? I'll write again as soon as I can.....
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