The Story Behind The Story

Pillow Stack

When I said that this whole book writing thing had been a wild and crazy experience, I wasn’t joking. People say all the time, “Hey, I had this crazy dream!” Well, that is exactly how this whole thing started. With a dream.

It isn’t often that I remember my dreams. They are usually emotionally gut wrenching or scary as crap when I do, but only occasionally are they just odd. Even then, they fade pretty quickly, even if I’ve talked about it. When I woke up from this particular dream, I immediately told Hubby about how crazy, weird it was.

It wasn’t scary. It didn’t leave me an emotional mess. It was actually pretty normal and unremarkable if you looked past how utterly impossible it would ever be in reality. Nothing fantastical or anything like that, just a “That would NEVER happen or be possible in real life. Why would anyone ever do that?” That impossibility is what made the dream stick with me, though. I talked to Hubby about it, wondering why I would have this dream of what is essentially a rather mundane, real life situation with very unrealistic events tangled up in it.

For probably close to two days, I couldn’t get it out of my head. The unrealistic aspects of it kept nagging at me until I stopped and thought, “Okay, so what things would need to happen to make this realistic? What kind of a situation would present itself in real life that would make this genuinely plausible? If someone did do that, in what situation would they make a choice like that?” Everything kind of spiraled from there. Next thing I knew, I had a solid idea of an actual story that would take that impossible situation from my dream and make it a very real possibility.

So many things happened from there, and so quickly, that I often found myself feeling as if I was sitting on the sidelines watching it all unfold. I had this need to put that idea down on paper to see where it would go. As I’ve said before, I never considered myself a writer in any fashion. Yes, I write blog posts and rant or rave about other authors work, but I never felt like that was something I was ever good at. Anything in the past that I have ever tried to write felt like I was trying to force myself to do something that went against my nature. It was always a battle. Details were impossible and, PLEASE, don’t ask me to name ANYTHING!

Once I sat in front of my computer with Word open, every single aspect just came out. Chapter by chapter, line by line. Without any real conscious thought put into it. I’d write for hours without stopping, often forgetting to eat either breakfast or lunch, sometimes both. By late afternoon or evening, I’d start to run into a part that I didn’t know where the story went from there, so I’d stop. Every night, when I went to bed, a solution would just kind of be there ready to go for the next day.

Characters were just there, fully formed with names and personalities and presence. I knew from the beginning, before I even sat down to write, all the essential parts that would need to happen. I knew exactly where they were going to fall, I just didn’t always know how they connected to each other. There were a couple of times that I was certain a scene would go one way, but when I sat down to write, something entirely different came out and that is exactly the way it needed to be.

By the end of a week, the entire book was written. I had over 65k words and over 20 chapters. I had even gone back through the entire thing and made my first round of edits and changes. All in a single week.

Since then, I’ve spent a whole lot of time exercising my patience muscles waiting for others to read it and give me feed back. I’ve gotten some wonderful advice and got to see this from a person’s perspective that is so very different from my own and forced me to look at it in ways I hadn’t. All things that helped me to make it just a bit better, but I had begun to wonder how I would know that I was finally, completely finished. This latest round of changes I’ve been working on, so far, I only have one tiny place I need to tweak a scene. I think that tells me that whatever this needed to be, it is finally at that point. I’ll know for sure when I do another full read through.

I say this experience was crazy, because in a lot of ways, I don’t feel like I wrote it. More like I was just the conduit. Yes, I physically wrote it. I had the idea and I ran with it, but so much of it was done on a sub-conscious level that it almost felt separate from me. It is one of the reasons I really don’t believe that I’ll ever do anything like this again, that this is a one time deal.

I’ve often said that I think some of the best authors are legitimately crazy in that they literally have voices in their heads talking to them, but that is okay because they create greatness from the crazy. I always thought that must be both awesome and intimidating at the same time. I’m not saying I reached that level, but I think I brushed against the edge of that and I now have a much better understanding of those authors.

Being an artist, I’ve had experiences where it felt like a piece created itself. They are the pieces that I look at and think are some of my very best. Sometimes I even look back and am kind of floored that this thing actually came from me. That is the part I love the most. This was like that, but times a thousand.

 

Author: TJ Fox

Slightly sane artist, book addict, wife and mother of 3 who is forever rethinking her place in this world.

2 thoughts on “The Story Behind The Story”

  1. Sounds like it was a “meant to be” type of thing. The way it just came to you like that. Most writers tend to have difficulty in writing their books or novels, some even have writers block from time to time. I am so happy with you for accomplishing something you never thought you could do!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally recognize the fact that this wasn’t a “normal process” kind of thing. It is kind of a weird feeling, but like with pretty much everything surrounding this, I’m just going with it.

      Liked by 1 person

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