The Grueling Art of Storytelling.

What is the reader thinking in the trapped pages of a forgotten volume of antiquity?
What is the reader thinking in the trapped pages of a forgotten volume of antiquity?

This summer I have committed myself to finish a historical fiction novel that has been on the back burner so long that not only has the pot burned through, it has rusted into decay. The story, however, begs to be told.

It all started in a certification course I attended on Advanced Clinical Psychological Hypnotherapy. An age regression experiment without forethought or coercion turned into a past-life regression, if you believe in such spiritual phenomena, which at the time I most certainly did not!

Now I have to accept that such hypotheses could have merit or maybe it’s a story whose time has come, and it has floated down through the centuries, landing and taking root in my mind. Whatever the case, the story and characters who have lived with me for so long are demanding to be set free.

I have lived this story a thousand times in my dreams and imagination with the sequence of events never altering. Should be easy to pen upon paper, right? Well, maybe not.

Since some actual historical facts entered my consciousness–like the name of a town that I didn’t even know existed; the ancestry of a forgotten family that lined up perfectly with the events of the story; or the older gentleman, a tour guide, in a seaport of renowned antiquity telling me the words I needed to hear to verify my research.

ancient manuscript

This, of course, has led to more research, more corresponding facts, and a whole world of possibilities. Maybe too many possibilities.

Hence, has been my dilemma for not merely years, but decades. Every time I start to put pen to paper or watch words come to life on a blank lit screen, I wonder “what if?” and “what have I left out?” I always end up going back to the proverbial drawing board.

“But not this time!” I declared. I’ll just get the story down and iron it out once it’s all on printed bond paper, doublespaced, of course. Yet every time I look into the mirror, who do I see looking back at me? Myself or my character, a former version of myself? It deepens your beliefs on spiritual matters, but it also leads to more questions with no answers or perhaps, too many answers.

What I really wanted to share in this blog today is the writer’s mind, the writing process. Those who do not write believe that being a fiction writer is such an easy task. After all, you can make up a story anyway you choose, go off on a tangent, change your mind in midstream, develop the plot as you go along. Not so, my dear friends. There has to be logical correlations, realism, and realistic emotions, dialogue and conclusions. The words do not miraculously appear on the page in the correct order with the right terminology. Writers agonize over adjectives (are there too many or not enough?); change nouns and verbs and subjects of clauses and prepositions; and the most grueling of all, “Will the readers ‘get it’?” “Will someone else understand what I’m trying to say?”

Writing is grueling and rewriting even more so, but it’s the most glorious, inspiring expression of self that can be released from your soul! I wouldn’t trade my need to write, to create, to express, for anything else in the world! Even if no one else ever reads it…

The quill and pen has come a long way, but the writer's thought processes, the human element, cannot be automated!
The quill and pen has come a long way, but the writer’s thought processes, the human element, cannot be automated!

6 thoughts on “The Grueling Art of Storytelling.

  1. Interesting to hear the thought process of other writers. Kudos on deciding to move forward with the story!

    My process is altered by many factors: mood; how busy I am; mental clarity (I’ve had my 2 cups of coffee and perhaps squeezed in a 3rd) etc.

    Some pieces tend to pretty much write themselves since they are just full of emotion which flows undammed. Other pieces take months to be complete since after a thought is sparked, I jot it down, then forget about it. I’ve gone as far as to conclude that if a piece is worth writing I should just let it stay in my head marinating for a while, since jotting it down simply erases it from the brain as though it were a completed task. If I simply forget about it, then it wasn’t worth writing anyway. But if it keeps resurfacing then it’s a keeper.

    Great post. Best wishes for an lovely weekend 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great advice on how your writing process works, and it’s very similar to mine. If I keep getting little hints or comments from unrelated sources that bring me back to the idea then I know it’s worth embarking upon. Of course, I think in novels or at the least novellas, which are long involved projects. My poetry, at least at this stage of my life, flows rather off-the cuff. It has ebbed and flowed from zilch–I can’t write a poem to save my soul–to writing letters to friends in verse when that wasn’t the intent. Not sure how it goes around and comes around, but I’m happy when it’s in abundance. Song writing, music and lyrics, floats in and out of my life as well. Right now poetry is out-lasting songs, but I’m going to be hanging in there with this long project till it’s done. You’ll be hearing more about it in future blogs as I start sharing some excerpts for feedback. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and inspire me!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Writing something wonderful clears the mind and palette,
    Allowing something meaningful to shine through and surface.
    Hidden beneath the consciousness is where it’s all at,
    And you just have to dig a bit to find your true purpose.
    Here’s to finding the divine!
    And designing the refined!

    The morsel of a thought-form begging to be released
    Will open up our higher selves, and writers will increase
    The knowledge of the ages upon sterile, blank pages.
    Here’s to blank pages filled with erudite messages!
    The time has come to channel Universal passages!

    In writing, in drawing, in sculpting, we’re sharing truth.
    This is where we seek guidance and undeniable proof.
    Here’s to the times that define our roles!
    To both writer and reader, the wisdom unfolds!

    In the spiritual realm that reaches and teaches,
    Each vessel of humanity is resolving and evolving.
    Here’s to writing something wonderful to enlighten our souls!
    Here’s to the beauty of thoughts, words, art, and behold…
    Destiny and infinity are never-ending goals!

    NOTE: This was supposed to be just a couple of cutesy lines of verse on the topic of our discussion, but it … well, just took off! In addition to sharing this with a kindred soul like you, I think I’ll post it on my blog. Just know it was written for you. I wasn’t just whistlin’ Dixie when I said you inspired me. lol


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