What I learned Writing (Day 2)

creative writing

I think that the closest I have ever, and will ever, come to having a soulmate was my college roommate, Kristina. I watch some of my friends who are already married and the way that they love each other and on bad days the first thing I think is “I will never have that.” I will never have someone to play stupid bored games with at 11:00 o’clock at night and have inside jokes  with that no one else gets but they try to laugh along anyway because my soulmate and I just keep saying them and laughing like we’re recording a sitcom laugh-track. Then I remember Kristina. Kristina and I had that. As roommates we had that fully accepting relationship where you are each other’s best friends and the first person you want to tell about your day that I see in so many of my married friends.

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Now Kristina and I have our own separate lives, apparently you cannot be college roommates forever, and we live them mostly happily. We don’t see each other very often because those lives take place in different states. That relationship that we had has dwindled to a pocket-sized version of it but I still think we’re soulmates and sometimes something happens to me and Kristina is the first person I want to tell. Still, having your college roommate be your soulmate when you have to go to BBQ’s and watch all of your other friends be WITH their soulmate kind of sucks.

That was of course just a very long preamble to the following statement: I don’t know a lot about romantic love. I have a sort of Disney, 10 Things I Hate About You, rosy image of what romantic love actually looks like. So naturally one of the big themes in the story I have spent the last 18 months weaving has been love.

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Love. Something I know exactly nothing about.

So naturally, a year and a half ago (January 2014) when I first swirled my blue .7 pilot pen (I’m very specific. I used a blue .7 for all of my first book and a black .5 for all of the second) across the page of my notebook I had the idea that I was going to write a story about love. Really I was just going to write a story about a princess who wanted to be left alone and forgotten and a prince who wanted to be a knight and somewhere along the way they fell in love.

Here’s the thing though (this is another thing that I knew before I started writing but I have learned so much more about it since starting out on this journey), just like Kristina is a different kind of soulmate for me than my friend Austin is for my friend Erin, there are a lot of different kinds of love. You could study love for centuries and never see all of it. And yet we focus on this one kind.

I know a lot about some of those other kinds of love. So when I sat down and started writing I wrote about more than just romantic love. I wrote about the kind of love that I have with Kristina, or Erin, or Crystal and Samii. These people are my best friends. I have a very deep love for each of them. If they needed me to I would not hesitate to beat someone to death with a baseball bat for them. I’m not kidding.

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So I chose to write about that kind of love. Sure it was sidelined but it is there. It is just as important.

Then I also know a lot about the love you have for your family. The way that 90% of the time you want to kill your sibling but if anybody else says something about your sibling you’ll kill them (there is an awful lot of death in a blog post that is supposed to be about love. Oh well.). So I wrote about that too.

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Just like me and Jamie.

I put together a cast of characters who all loved each other in these many varying ways and the more I explored each relationship the more I took in how multi-faceted and layered love was. We have exactly one word for love in the English language and somehow it still encompasses this universe of an idea. It’s baffling.

I’m intrigued by the notion of love. There are so many different forms and facets of it that show in so many different ways. I think I could write about it for the rest of my life and still not do it justice.

What I’ve learned from Writing (Day 1)

You guys might be wondering where I’ve been since May seeing as I haven’t written ANYTHING but the answer is really boring. Honestly, I have been here, in this exact spot on my couch with my computer open wasting my time on pinterest, facebook, and a site called disney ladies from last night. Oh, I’ve also been writing the end of my novel. Much of the last year of my life has ibeen spent between the pages of a college ruled notebook scribbling out the actions and flaws of a small group of characters. The six months before that were spent in a very similar fashion with the same cast of characters but that was the first book, this is the second. Sure in that time I’ve done a whole bunch of things (please see any previous blog posts that actually made it out of my head and onto the internet) but writing this book has taken up the highest percentage of time in my life.

Novel writing is kind of like a sickness, an invasive sickness. It takes over huge chunks of your life. You don’t just spend you “designated writing time” thinking about your novel. It takes over the line at Starbucks and the boring training session at work. Sometimes it even shows up while your driving, which is particularly dangerous. Even if you have a pen on you it is not a good idea to try writing out that scene while driving down the freeway (although I really can’t say from experience. It just sounds dangerous). There are a few bonuses to the writing sickness, for example you are almost never bored.

In fiction writing fiction we accidentally reveal a lot of things about ourselves, often without realizing it. And, as the writer, we learn a lot about ourselves, particularly the way we view life. So I’ve decided to write down a few of the things that I’ve learned in the last year while writing this book book book.

Since I’m writing the end/falling action right now I’m going to start with the end. One of the most important things that I have learned in writing is that it is not all happy endings. There is a wedding at the end of this particular book (spoilers) and its a moment in which two of the main characters are perfectly and blissfully happy. The heroines primary conflict and struggle is gone and for one minute she gets to be happy. Here’s the catch. It isn’t all happy. There are still characters who are fighting their fight and  they don’t think the story is over. To them they are not just secondary characters. What is happening for them is still a really big deal. I came to this conclusion after one of the secondary character’s walked, rumpled and bedraggled, into the wedding feast and said, “now wait a second, you still have two story-lines to wrap up. There is no way you put me through all of this hell just to give my story line a footnote at the end.”

You see, there is always going to be something else. You do not reach a point in life where you are happy and move on from there.

I don’t know if that is really something I have learned but its been a great reminder.

Tune in tomorrow for the more exciting things that I’ve learned.