When writing, ideas and inspiration can come in many different forms. For me, music is a great catalyst to propel a story forward. Take a listen to the music at the top of the page. What scenes or dialogue in a story does it evoke for you? Are you flying over a landscape when listening to the song? Part of an important mission with dire consequences at stake?
I remember the first time I had writers block in my story. I could not think of a way to advance the plot at all. I prayed about it, bounced ideas off family, and stared at the screen intently expecting the solution to just write itself. It wasn’t until I was mowing the lawn, headphones in ears, listening to music that inspiration struck. Suddenly, the scene unfolded in my head with each crescendo, and the story could continue. I couldn’t wait to be done mowing the lawn!
In my current Work In Progress Keagan and Bran (aka Shadowsprite and Lightfoot) follow a trail that leads the two deep beneath the surface. Bran confronts Keagan about his fear of being underground and a memory is triggered. I purposefully move from third person past tense to first person present tense as Keagan experiences the flashback and the moment from his past comes alive. Another note to avoid confusion: Keagan is a shape shifter and is able to morph from aelf to fox form.
“The darkness was complete. Like it is here. Or so I thought after they yanked the rope I had been lowered on from my grasp and back through the trap door. It slammed shut, blocking out all light and muting the sounds of mirth that grated on my ears. My father’s laughter mingled with Shadespawn’s and Kord’s, and … I guess … the guards as well. I don’t know. They all blended together.
I find character development can either make or break a story. Invincible heroes and everyday villains many can find boring, and people are quick to drop a story if some sort of connection can’t be made. Descriptives like hair color and attitude only go so far as well, and that’s why for me I wanted to go a bit further in my characters than just surface deep attributes.
When it comes to building a character for a story, it helps to have a process in doing it. For me, I want to know why they are there. Do they fulfill a requirement for the story, or are they just fluff? How important are they to the plot? Trying to make everyone have the spotlight is hard, and juggling a cast versus one central person may be that much harder.
As a species, we are pretty rebellious in nature. We idolize it in literature and film, and even in our history it is pervasive in just how much we balk at authority. The Revolutionary War in America. The French Revolution. Even the Bar-Kokhba rebellion in Israel against Rome around a hundred years after the crucifixion. Western bibles don’t have the accounts of the Maccabees (There are four books). These account the Israelite’s victory over the Greeks and the re-dedication of the temple. Some rebellions are well known, others have faded into obscurity. All are instances in history where a group banded together to say to a higher authority, “No.”
Sometimes, it is completely justified. Oppression should be fought against. Injustice should be called out. Some rebellions are innocent, like with children. Ask any parent of a child and they will tell you of instances where their kids rebelled to the detriment of themselves. I have several humorous stories about my own children learning the hard way.
Returning to my theme of a couple posts ago, I have chosen to share another “paranormal” adventure. This is a flash fiction piece I wrote a while ago. It is told from the perspective of a demon. Following in the footsteps of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, this begins with a senior demon speaking to younger demons but as his story progresses, he falls into the memory. I hope you enjoy this “light-hearted” look into a haunting.
The ghost hunter team arrived late this afternoon. I knew they would come. The humans who bought the house six months ago planning to bring it back to its original glory are afraid to set foot in the front door. I must share my technique; you will appreciate this my fellow junior demons. It’s an old trick, really. I convinced them that I was the sorrowful ghost of a past tenant, trapped here by some tragic event. That I was benign. Then, when they thought they understood and had developed a connection with me, I went all nasty vengeful spirit. You know, throwing things, pushing humans downstairs, leaving nasty, burning scratches. Fun stuff.
Oooh! It gives me the chills just thinking about it. Well … it would if I could get chills. But since I’m a demon, I don’t have a physical body … currently. But that’s another story.
It is quite easy to scare humans—they are so impressionable—but remember, we must obey the rules. And rule number one is: never reveal the truth of what we are.