I cannot, not create. It is almost addictive, and it doesn’t matter what form it takes. Perhaps this came from creating ways to entertain myself while growing up as an only child on a farm in the butt crack of nowhere. From stretching rubber bands over a cigar box to make my own “musical” instrument to painting or making up characters and plays in the backwoods where I entertained the trees, it seems as though I have always had the need to express. My problem has been how to stay focused with such diversified interests. I’ve tried sculpting, painting, acting, singing, song writing, landscaping, and embroidery, in addition to writing, and a few other pursuits.
I have had multiple ideas for novels over the years, but I had no clue how to write them, and I could not seem to stay focused long enough to complete more than two or three chapters. However, around 2006, I was cutting up with a friend, and a character started channeling out of me. She was a burned out, aging hippie who smoked, and spoke articulately.
“My daughter,” She said, “would never dress out for gym class. That’s because one nipple pointed up, and one nipple pointed down, and all the children called her tiddlywinks.”
After my friend laughed at the first comment, I added, “Of course, that golf ball sized hairy mole on her ass never helped matters much either.”
This character became the protagonist for my first novel. I simply sat down and let her tell her story. I became fascinated to see what she was going to say next. When I would write, I never knew exactly what would come out. I just let her tell her story, and Confessions from the Pumpkin Patch was the end result.
The original joke never showed up in the novel, I don’t know why, and Lovella told the story in a different way than I expected. As I wrote, I realized there were other characters who also wanted to tell their stories, and each one of them had an encounter with the protagonist of the previous novel. Before I knew it, this had become “The Soul Encounters” series. The second novel is almost finished, and two more have been started. By the time it is all done, there may be as many as five novels in the series.
I never knew how to write a novel, but I guess the answer was just, get out of the way and let the character tell the story. Of course, I had to research time lines, historical events and such, but all in all, it boiled down to what seemed like channeling. I am very grateful to Lovella for telling her story through me. I am grateful to have been chosen to dictate it. At this point, I have learned to simply trust the process, and I trust that future characters will tell me what they need to say, when and how they need to say it.
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A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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