Monday, January 31, 2005

Discovery or Creation?

Sometimes, when writing a book, I feel like I'm discovering a story, not writing it.

Let me give you an example.

A few years ago, I wrote a short contemporary romance, which is now on my "rewrite sometime" pile. It opened with a car crash scene that was actually written some time before I wrote the rest of the story. I saw that scene, wrote it out, and promptly forgot about it. I had no idea who the characters were, what the story was, where that scene fitted.

In the scene, the heroine saw the face of a little girl at the window of the car she swerved to avoid.

Later, I tumbled into a story that fit the scene - the story of an impoverished English country Lord and the hurting, captivating woman who threatens all his ideas of who he is, and who he should be. But who was the little girl? No-one, as far as I could see. There was no room for that child, so she was removed from the car, and from the story. The car crash became the start of the story, the Hero became the driver of the second car that has once had the little girl in the passenger seat.

I finished it, edited it, submitted it, and it was rejected.

And just this morning, driving the stretch of road that inspired that opening scene, I suddenly remembered the little girl, and just as suddenly realised who she is.

She's his daughter. He was married. The woman he alludes to obliquely somewhere around chapter 7 as leaving him to go to University - CAME BACK. They were married. They had a child. Somewhere in the first Act of the REAL story, the story I SHOULD have written, that little girl rolls her eyes at the heroine, when the Hero tells her off for shortening his daughter's name.

Now the point is, I don't feel like I DECIDED to add these things to the story. I didn't think, "I could do this, this or this, and THIS seems like the best option." I feel more like I remembered something I had forgotten, or found something that was lost. Like turning two pages in a book without realising it, and only finding the pieces you had missed when you re-read that book years later.

Now I'm faced with rewriting a story to include (or reinstate?) a dead wife and a young girl. Which fits beautifully with the story's themes of responsibility and expectation, guilt, blame and punishment.

Looks like that story will be coming off that rewrite sometime pile sooner than I thought....


At 2:48 pm, Blogger Sela Carsen said...

YAY!! You're rewriting Rescuing Rachel!! That's not easy to say at all. :-)

At 3:10 pm, Blogger Anna Lucia said...

Well... eventually. ;-) There is a queue...

And she might not be a Rachel when I do. I suspect she was supposed to be American, and with a hell of a lot more sass to balance her angst.

But I don't know yet. More discoveries to make.

The scariest thing is that this might not be a Rom Susp story. I always envisaged rewriting it with a suspense subplot. Now I'm not so sure...

At 4:02 pm, Blogger Melani Blazer said...

THIS....THIS is brilliant. Heartwarming, inspriring and HELLYEAH! you're gonna do it!

*hugs Anna and dances around the room*

To me, just realizing this, grasping, understanding and KNOWING makes it spine tingling exciting.

Behind you all the way,

At 5:08 pm, Blogger Jaye said...

I've often felt this way, Anna, that is more about 'discovering' the story, than writing it.

At 5:31 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's inspiration, Anna--which literally means, "in spirit".
So you HAVE to write it. You must!


At 3:01 am, Anonymous Ozami said...

That was very inspiring!

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