Getting Into the Very Soul of Your Book
Just a Few Writing Ideas
Article by Stella Brians
From experience, I think that it’s best to write what we know, or that we can easily research. Growing up in New England, I always thought that it was so boring to live in the middle of nowhere. Later on in life I of course realized that this was not the case. I took what I knew from my historical neighborhood, loneliness, and rain and turned it into inspiration. Where I was from and who I was became fascinating. I love myself because I was unique and special.
When I write, I try to take what surrounded me in the past and what I hold onto in the present.
Rain. Where I grew up, there was always rain. I love the rain, and feel depressed when it’s sunny. In the worlds I create and live in as an author, it is usually autumn and nearly always raining. This leaves a calm backdrop for characters, and for the reader. Often my characters are going through an ordeal in my stories and the rain is therapeutic.
Remember the way it used to be.
Modern life is pretty depressing and boring at times, because everything is done for us. I like to think back to a time when phone booths existed, people read paperback books, and computers were not such an integral part of life. There was a time when you had to be careful driving through Father Panik Village in Bridgeport, CT, and when people stuck needles in the change drop of phone booths. When I write, it’s like taking a time machine back to before I was born, because I can research that, and there are certain things that I remember. There are songs that stick in my head from certain times that set the mood for my childhood.
Celine Dion’s It’s All Coming Back To Me Now played all the time on the radio, and I would hear it in the car or wherever we were going. It reminds me of being about seven years old, and sitting in the back of my parents’ station wagon. It is an incredibly sincere and romantic song, and I think that coupled with her voice certainly had an effect on me. I am sure that you have had this happen to you, perhaps in a different way or with another song. When I hear that song, I can remember Harkness Park and The Book Barn in Connecticut because it was likely playing in the car on the way over. It is these moments in life that help us develop a sense of what makes us personally happy. This is one of the many little pieces that aid us in our personal development as an author. Memories, and things that make only us happy for a reason no one else understand. All I can say is to write about it, and somehow incorporate it into a character or a story.
Writing your characters in a very sincere way, and writing a detailed story.
Life is very detailed, and modern film dilutes and speeds up everything. I have noticed that some people write in this same fashion, and it’s one of the first things that will make me put a book down.
Reading Anne Rice taught me how important it is to sweep your reader away with detail and completely submerge them in your world. If describing a scene, building, or setting takes a week it is time worth spent.
Characters are fun, and it is good to branch out and use not only pieces from yourself but of other people as well. My brother’s friend who wore purple Converse hightops, our neighborhood cat lady who doubled as our school lunch lady, and the eccentric stained glass towers of the Victorian houses in our neighborhood are a few examples of unique world and character building. Make it your own and always your own.
Finally, immerse yourself in the world(s) you are writing about, and your favorite character.
Listen to the sound of rain whether recorded or from an open window.
Wear the same kind of shoes your favorite character would.
Visit a place from your childhood, and put it into your story.
Make a mixtape of songs that remind you of being seven years old.
The Possibilities and creative ideas are endless.