Thursday, July 21, 2016

HANGING A WRITER'S TEN, OR RIDING THE DREAMWORLD WAVE - REDUX


[Note: I originally wrote this shortly before one of my awesome pilgrimages to San Francisco]

"There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality. Then there are those who turn one into the other."

-- Douglas Everett


It is now t-minus 19 days and counting until The Big San Francisco Vacation.

Been in full writer mode lately. It’s hard to explain what that is and how that differs from my regular writer mode. Stories play in my head all the time; but, there is a level at which they begin to really take shape - where I’m on a roll - where I *crave* writing more than usual. It’s a writing euphoria. I like to hit the crest of that wave and ride it as far as it will take me. I’m hangin’ a writer’s ten.

My next book in a series I'm working on is in my head for sure; but, I also have another series in my brain, and a standalone novel (or novella) that has nothing to do with my crime writing. So, I’m juggling three great story ideas, and they are all *active*!

I get caught up in my characters, and their stories. They live for real in my head. Later when I re-read my stuff, I’ll think “where did that come from?” I use my brain to hone all the writing and make it as good as I can, as readable, as interesting, without losing that magical part that just makes itself happen.

Hell, I’ve been makin’ stuff up since as early as I can remember - and writing it down into little stories when I was a kid. I used to lie out in the front yard in the early evening and scribble those little stories into a notebook. As it got dark, all I had was the light of the street lamp overhead. I had that euphoric feeling about writing even then.

I couldn’t stop then, and I still can’t. Someone asked me recently “What made you decide to start writing?” I thought, “Decide?” There was a decision in there somewhere? Hah! Like I had a choice - well, I had a choice, but not writing would not be a pretty choice for me.

I can feel something good coming in my writing world. Something is about to break open in my next story for this series. I think there will be a big “aha” writing moment for me on this San Francisco trip.

I chose San Francisco for my next vacation trip (in lieu of my beloved New York City), in part because I do love San Fran, but also I had this idea that would not let me go, and it was all set in San Francisco.

I call it a “vacation”, but to this writer there is No. Such. Thing. My writing brain is on and working damn near 24/7. There are nights when I have a hard time turning off the stuff so I can sleep! The only way in which this trip *is* a vacation, is that I’ll be away from my damn day job, so I can do what I *really* love for two whole, beautiful weeks. I can write whenever and wherever I want. Yeah!!

I’ll be prowling around San Francisco and thereabouts in daylight and dark. There will be some of the next story in the North Beach area, and something I’ll be putting in there that’s set in Berkley/Oakland, and there might even be a little this and that from Monterey/Salinas and San Jose. I’m sure there will be parts of the place I haven’t even thought of yet that wind up in the story. That’s just the way the process goes for me - it’s part very strategic planning and hard work, and part unbelievable surprise.

The surprise - the discovery - the *adventure* - will be how that whole beautiful, mystical landscape of the San Francisco area will play out in this book. That’s a big piece of the euphoria for me - the way the stuff I think up blends in with the stuff that just brings itself to me. It’s a fantastic journey between reality and the way reality influences the fiction in my head. When that dream world wave hits its crest, I hop on and see where it takes me.

There are 19 more days before I get to San Fran. I’ll ride this small wave until I get there, and then I’ll be paddling out again looking for a Big Dream Wave to bring me some *new* surprise!

Polla Filia,

J.F.

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