The other day, while water-walking, my new friend Gina asked me how I write. Is it a bolt of inspiration? I laughed. No, most of the time writing is a slow trudging through the endless details of the story that won't stop running through my head.
But sometimes I do have a jolt, a sudden inspiration. Tonight, mine was Inception. If you haven't seen the movie yet, you need to. Seriously, go right now. I haven't watched such a wonderful, intriguing, complex, and lovely story unfold on screen in a really long time. I can't tell you anything about it, but I can say that there is a lot of creativity in it. Creativity in the setting, creativity in the character development, and the characters just plain old being creative. Wes and I had met at the movie after I finished work, so I had time to just think about it on the way home. A good movie, book, tv show, or story of any kind should have depths to be mulled over. And as I mulled, Sojourner came to mind.
I must explain something here for the vast majority of you will not have written any stories since your 6th grade narrative about your grandma's childhood bike accident. When you tell a story, especially a LONG story, it becomes a part of you. Somewhere, in the back of your subconscious, it is there. It's like how the slightest detail in every day life might trigger a thought about your spouse or your best friend. Sojourner has become a part of who I am. It always sits beneath the surface of my mind, and I never know when it is going to pop up. When it does so at the most unexpected times, I get that ah-ha moment. Suddenly, there is a problem in my story. I've known it's there all along, but I've been ignoring it, pretending it will go away because I have no idea how to fix it. The ah-ha brings the perfect solution, usually the one I never expected, and that's when writing changes from the shoveling my way through the endless snowstorm of editing to magic--pure, magic. In those moments, I am no longer the creator of this story, instead, it's shaping me.
It was this whole idea of creativity and creation that sparked my ah-ha moment tonight. One of the driving focuses of my novel is the idea of creation. It's ironic, because I have always sworn up and down that I am not a creative person, but once you've finished the first draft of a novel, people stop believing that. In Janueth, the elf world that I created, the elves have given up their ability to create. It's only when Mara comes, that the gift begins to be reopened to them. It's probably the most important idea in the whole story, but it was getting lost among the details of the lesser plot. There was something so magical about the worlds created within Inception, and it made me realize that there wasn't really anything magical about the magic of creation within my world. That's when I thought of the perfect idea. No, I can't tell you what it was, but now I have the solutions to the problem I hadn't even allowed myself to admit existed.
That means tomorrow I have to go change several places in the novel to reflect this more magical element that I am adding. The problem with the ah-ha's is that they take a lot of the slow, serious, detailed work afterwards, but Sojourner wouldn't be anything without them.