But…how do you do it?

Every now and then I find myself in the neighborhood of my old college and drop in to say hello to my professors, the people who shaped my mind into what it is today (the writing part, not the perverted part).

As the world has grown smaller with Facebook, I keep up with a few of them on a regular basis and vice versa.  This means they all know about my illustrious writing career and I am always asked how the book sales are going.

This time, however, one of my favorite professors asked “How do you do it? How do you make these stories up?”

I shrugged and said, “How do you not?”

She’s a journalist. A truth and facts gal. And that was her answer. She can’t make things up, she can only write the facts.

Well, I can do that as well. I do it as my day job.  But I always have to stop myself from adding too much flare.

I can’t very well write an article on a car accident for a newspaper that says: The car veered to the left crossing the median into oncoming traffic. The driver screamed in horror as the lights from a much larger SUV filled her tiny sedan moments before the sound of crushing metal filled her hears.

Nope. They would kick me out. So I restrain and save the flare for my fiction.

“But…how do you do it?” she asked.

I don’t know. It’s how my brain works. It’s how I see the world.

Everything has a story, everyone has a story, every moment has a story.

I see that story, I write that story, I live that story until it’s done.

My characters take over my mind, tell me what to say, what to do, how they look and feel. The settings are as vivid in my mind as if I were watching a movie. I cry when my characters cry, I laugh when they laugh, I feel what they feel. Okay, minds out of the gutter on that one.

The point is, I don’t know how I do it, because I just do. I don’t know how to tell someone who doesn’t do it, how to do it.

I think we all have our own talents. We all have something that makes us unique to those around us. I can’t draw or sew or dance to save my life, but I can look at a coffee cup and write an entire book about the people who have drank from it.

Oh, now there’s an idea…


2 thoughts on “But…how do you do it?

  1. I get asked it too…I just scratch my head and wonder do these people not have “stories” running through their head. As a child, I would walk up stairs and pretend I was a princess ascending her castle. I was Baby in Dirty Dancing as I danced outside all by myself. (I love to dance, Emilia.) My Barbies acted out soap operas. I didn’t even move them. I held them in my hands and let them look at each other as I supplied dialogue in my head. I did this up until I was a teenager. I really believe this is why I started writing on paper instead of using dolls. I got too old and needed a new outlet. So I filled up composition book after composition book of stories. Stories I wished I’d not thrown away. I still remember several of them. One was a Western. One was set in the 70’s and had a non-happy ending. Another was the South during a drought and I remember dusty tennis shoes as my heroine played on a swing. I think perhaps some of my greatest work I burned when I got tired of hiding my books under my bed. My husband said it best when he once told me, “To this day, I cannot pick up a stick and not pretend it’s a sword.” It’s all (as Spongebob would say) imagination!


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