Tuesday, February 1, 2022 by Donnie Stevens
It started with a thought. About someone you know, a place you’ve visited, an event that happened, or something of interest you’ve recently read about. Then it became an idea, a yearning to learn more, an opportunity to create a story. You ignore it because it’ll demand much more research, time, and effort, then you’re willing to sacrifice. But it won’t let go. It keeps gnawing at you. The idea buries itself in your mind, lingering somewhere between fact and fiction. You unconsciously think about it, the setting, characters, plots, and emotions, all fall in place, breathing life into a story that yearns to be told.
Welcome to my Bittersweet, February Newsletter. This is just a sample of what I experienced before writing my new romance suspense that takes place in the Brooks Mountain Range in Alaska in mid-January. What better way to deal with this winter’s cold in Virginia then write a story with the setting in mid-January. When I decided to write that first sentence, paragraph, page, and chapter to my new story, I knew I had stepped out of my comfort range, embarking on a new venture. One that required a lot of research. I had the beginning and the ending down pat but the journey in between, I call the meat of the story, is where I built a year long relationship with my characters to bring this story to life. All a labor of love.
Describing the settings, introducing characters, creating their personalities, voice, dialogue, actions, thoughts, and emotions, I began to build a relationship with each individual character. Whether it’s the hero or heroine, I became their ally, best friend, and shared their emotion and disappointments as they maneuvered through unforeseen challenges and conflicts, often reacting with emotion tugging at my heart.
My most satisfaction comes from writing dialogue between the characters. How do they react when speaking to each other? Will their words, actions, emotions, and thoughts bring the reader in on a deeper POV (Point of View)? Will the reader develop a love, hate relationship with the hero or heroine? And have I written each chapter, so the reader keeps turning the pages?
When do I find time to write? Some days I spend hours at my computer typing page after page, then other times I’m rationing moments to type a few hundred words. Often, I’ll be doing an odd chore at home or elsewhere when a phrase or thought comes to mind, then I’m frantically searching for pen and paper to jot it down. Better yet, I’m lying awake at two o’clock in the morning when that perfect one liner comes to mind that’ll embolden a character’s reaction or comment, breathing more life into a character’s personality.
For me, writing that last chapter, page, and paragraph is somewhat bittersweet when I finally cut ties with my characters who have entertained me, challenged me, and at times tugged at my heart strings. Even when I journey back through several edits to strengthen the many plots and events in this story, it still isn’t the same as writing those first words into chapters.
Don’t get me wrong, I love it when a story is completed and critiqued just right and ready to introduce to my Agent. Sharing this wintry, Alaskan, Romance Suspense with you will be most exciting. Hopefully, later this year. Thank you to all my friends, editors, and Agent who encourage me to write story after story. And to my many fans who pick up my books and turn pages into a journey. You’re the real reason I write.