Friday, October 24, 2008

If twos company and threes a coward, then who are all these other people?
Keeping the Focus on one story at a time

How many times has this happened to you?

You’re in the middle of writing what is surely to become the next best seller. The story is flowing, you’ve got your writing muse working overtime, the story is unfolding and all is right with the world when, there’s this guy name Joe and he starts telling you about what happened when he bumped into this woman on his way into this club down on 42nd street.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch someone left the barn door open and Mrs. O’Riley’s bull is now on a rampage in the local china shop. And hey, buddy, you wanna put that away.

By now you’re wondering who the heck are all these people and how did they get in my head?

Good news, you haven’t lost your mind, yet. So put down the Jack, flush the pharmaceutical and just take a deep breath. Welcome to my world, you’re a writer.

As I wander through this writer’s maze, I constantly find myself being pulled from one story to the next. Once I accepted the fact that I am a writer and therefore must write, I sought to focus and complete each story as my characters spoke and presented it to me. But it would seem some of my characters lack the patience or decorum to wait their turn to have their story written down.

I quickly realized unless I laid down some guidelines I would never complete anything. You see I’m the boss and I just needed to make my characters aware of that fact. Yeah, didn’t go over so well when I relayed it to them either.

Howsoever, I am focusing on writing one story at a time. And, yes, there are those characters that simply refuse to remain silent. Never, would I tell them to shut up and go back to the recesses of my subconscious. My worst fear, they would stay there and remain silent.

I found the best way to handle outspoken characters is to simply jot down their name, the jest of what their story is about. Thank them for bringing their story to my attention, point out that I’m currently in middle of another story at the moment. But I assure them that their story will be written by me, eventually. Of course I never, ever give a definite time line of when their story will be written. Believe me they will call you on it.

So, how’s it working it out you might be curious to know. Well let’s just say, I’m taking it one day, one story at a time. There are days when it still gets a little crowded like Grand Central Station with everyone wanting to hope on board the let’s write this story now express. But I’ll let you in on a little secret.

I wouldn’t trade this writer’s life for anything,

A.M. Wells