Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Blank Page - What Shall I Write

The blinking cursor on the monitor is waiting for my fingers to dictate what will appear on the screen. I stare at the blank page and wonder, what should I write about? There's research that comes before creating the story. Sometimes the reference books and nonfiction books about a historical event, or small events that lead to the big event are a story in themselves. Wouldn't it be fun to put my characters there and see where it leads?

Choosing where to start the tale is the beginning of defining how the story will unfold. So many of what appear to be unrelated incidents lead to occurrences that create consequences and trigger a major event. Weaving the characters through what to them are not significant news reports brings the story a sense of realism. What will the characters' reaction be when the big event occurs?

The outcome, how will it be told? So much depends on what historical documents tell us about the mores' of the time frame involved. In ancient times events that changed lives were usually attributed to whether the gods were pleased or displeased with a culture. In more recent times world conflict is attributed to the failure of diplomacy. In either situation the characters bring life to the history and make it memorable by what they do in the face of a changing world.

The characters' personalities reflect a combination of people that have influenced my own life from a short term acquaintance to the closest of loved ones. One character may be calm and able to rationalize while another is caught up in fear. Other characters will not acknowledge change is coming and continue the same as before the event took place. But each character's response leads the story to its conclusion.

By now the blank page has turned into a chapter and the chapter into several chapters. Characters interact with each other discussing news items, expressing opinions, and living life throughout the story. As time passes several chapters turn into a volume of chapters that become a novel to present to a reading audience.

And now? It's time to move on to the next blank page and start the process anew.