From Brage to page

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brage-norse-god

Brage: In Norse mythology, the god of poetry and prose, and son of Odin.

Thought that was fitting since my book deals with old mythologies and lost histories from that general part of the world. Really I focus on Irish history, pre-Christianity and for that matter, pre-recorded history.

So I write fiction.

But how does one get from an idea, a story, a character, to immortalizing it in ink? How does one get from Brage to page?

For me, it begins with an impulse, a feeling. An emotional pull inwards that demands my attention. And it manifests into a fictitious event, like two soul mates meeting for the first time, and what that would feel like and how would it play out. What would they SAY to each other? And from there I literally WATCH a scene in my mind’s eye. I see these people speaking to each other, hear their words, feel their emotions and it catches like wildfire.

So now I scramble for pen and paper- and of course I am not prepared, so maybe I have a broken pencil and a napkin, or worse, I’m writing in red lipstick on my vanity mirror. I’ve written on everything with anything I could find, just to record these moments. That’s all a book is really, a cohesive collection of moments the author managed to catch, with as much authenticity to the moment as possible. Staying true to the characters and how they react, how they respond to each other, is important and will allow the story to write itself.

I don’t think writers…. wait a minute, wrong word…. I don’t think STORYTELLERS, cause that’s what we are, have to over complicate the writing process. Just write it down. What you see, what you feel. Reread it in a  day or so. Let it grow. Write more. Don’t worry about it making sense yet.

I used to write ‘episodes’ as I called them. 15 single spaced pages that completed an entire ‘thought’. Sometimes it was 5 short scenes that expressed that ONE feeling and sometimes it was 2 longer scenes that made an ‘episode’. Soon, I ended up with about 10 episodes, so when I started my first novel I went back to these episodes and fit them in like puzzle pieces, either full chapters or parts of chapters and then I smoothed it all out by editing them in seamlessly with the other scenes around it. Voila! Book.

I guess it’s like baking? I don’t bake- but I told my writing group (informal name for my friends for life who helped me finish the first book) I told them my chapters were cupcakes! And all the cupcakes together equalled one BIG cake that was delicious! They liked that idea and began writing their own cupcakes and the technique helped them.

Do this; pick a quiet time in your day. For me it is when I first wake up or when I am laying down to sleep. And I go to that feeling. I go to that scene. I watch those characters. And it grows. It unfolds. And then I scramble up and find a crayon and an old receipt from Target and scratch it out! No, be prepared. I sleep with 2 notebooks beside me and I move them from room to room all day. I always have one in my purse, anywhere I go. (I had to get a bigger purse).

Don’t over complicate it. Write 5 sentences if that’s all you have. And when you get another impulse, write more! Write it, damn it! Cause I can’t imagine dying one day with this story still inside of me. Dormant. In the darkness. My characters deserve better than that and so do yours!

Thoughts are free! Share them!

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