Elizabeth D. Marie Fiction Author

Elizabeth D. Marie Fiction Author
Welcome to my blog—a writer's musings on characters, stories, and life

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Reality of Fiction

Being a writer can be dangerous. Sure, it has it's moments. Okay, maybe there is more danger in the penned words than in actual reality. But knowing a writer can be even more dangerous. You just never know when you'll be written into someone's story.

Okay, so I'm being a little sarcastic.

Still, I enjoyed an over-the-top portrayal of real life being drafted into the pages of a novel when I recently re-watched the show I Love Lucy.

In the third season episode Lucy Writes A Novel, Lucy writes a novel with her friends cast into the script… in some insulting ways. When her friends find her hidden manuscript and start to read it, things get a little… well, tense.

I Love Lucy, Lucy Writes A Novel (1954)
Lucy comes home after they have been reading it to find her manuscript missing and her friends sitting around the fireplace:
"We changed the name of your novel to Forever Ember." -Ethel, I Love Lucy
We writer's may threaten to use people we don't like and cast them in the roll of a character who will meet with a "horrible, untimely death" but never fear, this is rarely ever the case.

Our characters may be real in our minds, but they are just that: Fictional characters.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Cat Moment

It never fails I get interrupted when working on a story. In the rush of real life and responsibility, the time to really relax and get into the groove of writing becomes a rare privilege.

I came home from work today and Captain thought my arrival meant it was time to play. All day, I have been thinking about where I left off on my novel. I cannot stand to leave my characters in the midst of a dramatic circumstance for too long, abandoning them to the chaos of the moment! So I told him, 'No, Mommy is working, she can't play right now.'

No problem, he'll just make himself comfortable....

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what I call writer's block: A cat literally blocking your hands so you cannot type. He spends hours perching on my desk, my chair, my arm, my shoulder—playing with my hair. And if that isn't enough to get my attention, he grows tired and tries my lap.

I'm sorry, characters, you'll just have to hang in there a little bit longer, because I love this little guy too much to make him move. As you can probably tell by this quick candid, he is quite pleased with himself. How will I ever convince him that the world doesn't revolve around him? What can I say? I'm a marshmallow.

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Story Soundtrack

Whenever I am writing a novel, I find myself compiling a soundtrack for the story to help motivate me and keep me focused. Because, as much as I am sure silence would also help me concentrate, I have never been able to avoid hitting the "play" button on my iTunes window. Because music—like books—is oxygen. I will never grow tired of it.

So, I create a playlist and name it the title of my book, and I drag and drop in anything that helps me visualize the backdrop or scene of my story. Mostly instrumental, but I can't resist a few lyric pieces as well.

But wait! It gets even more complicated than that. Depending on the chapter or section I am working on, I'll even divide this self-created soundtrack into "chapters" for the different feel and emotion of that particular section or character. There are actions scenes and there are scenes of heartbreak… which makes for music of completely different sounds.

I remember in the bonus features of M. Night Shymalan's film The Village they were talking about the soundtrack of the film (a soundtrack full of beautiful violin music!) and how the young violinist reflected in her music the strength and grace of the main character Ivy... music that helped bring Ivy's story to life.

I love that. That's what I look for in music, something that strikes a chord in me, something that my characters would relate to. Something to make the moment real.

The same when I am composing my own music on the piano. I draw my inspiration from a specific emotion, and I take a breath and just let it out. Sometimes it doesn't turn out so well, and other times, with a little tuning and practice, I find the sound I was searching for.

Sometimes, in order to find the right words, you must first take a moment and listen to the music.

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." -Victor Hugo

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Struggle

Stories can have a profound impact on our lives. They can wound and corrupt us with twisted morals and falsehoods, or they can inspire us with honor and integrity and truth.

To be inspired, you must first relate in some way—to the struggle; to some hardened questions. There is a lot of pain in this world and there is no magic cure to make it all better. My characters will go through terrible ordeals, they will suffer great tragedies, they will be tested. Just as we are tested in our lives. Who believes in a hero/heroine who has never been tested? The untested hero/heroine will always do the right thing because there is nothing to hinder them, nothing to tempt them otherwise. But someone who can endure great pain to do what is right, recognized or not… I call that a hero.

When I open a book or watch a movie, I ask myself what motivates the characters? I want to see the struggle and how they rise above it. And it has to be something real. Because life is never simple and flat. The answers don't always jump out and surprise us. It's buried beneath layers of wreckage and hope.

We all believe in something. I am not a preacher, but each of my stories has a connection with Faith. Each of my characters believes something about God. It's a journey and a struggle, as we too daily strive to understand life and the supernatural. They can say they believe something, but where are their actions leading? What does their struggle and their response say about them? No spiritual journey is exactly alike. And not one is less important than another.

Faith is not weakness. Faith is where to find strength. My hope for my stories is that in witnessing the struggle, my readers will discover some truth that will inspire hope in their lives.

So, to any of you deep in the struggle: Take heart, and remember, He has overcome the world.

"We can't pretend to see the ending or what's coming up ahead. To know the story of tomorrow. But we can stay close to the One who knows." -Love & The Outcome