Tuesday, June 23, 2015

15 Minutes???

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege to speak in front of teenage writers at my public library.  I twas an even that I somehow snagged when our local library started carrying my books.  As the time approached I was a bit nervous.  As I writer I think of my books in a very intimate sort of way.  They progress in my imagination like a friendship, where I gradually get to know each of my characters and become more familiar with the details of their lives as the story progresses.  That's why when people ask me very specific questions about the process of writing, it can be a bit difficult and I make awkward pauses and respond with long rambling responses that eventually state the previous sentence that mirrors the sentiment of, It just sort of happens.

The teens were definitely forgiving of my long-windedness and asked questions that I would have been too scared to ask a local author if they had showed up at my favorite library when I was their age.  I would have never admitted to my sixteen year old self that I wanted to be a writer, like as a career.  I was too worried about financial security and a dream house and lots and lots of cars.  My priorities as a sixteen year old were much different than what they are now, as was my definition of success. And they were so different from the guys and gals that were sitting in the Craft Room of Branigan Library, pencil and papers ready, eagerly scribbling down Createspace and Smashwords as soon as they left my mouth.  They were dreaming about living their dream and not admirably not even willing to wait for it.  Their stories were locked and loaded, ready to fire out the tips of their number 2 pencils.  It was inspiring to see their eagerness, and their drive.

After I shared what I thought about publishing and my weird writing techniques my audience was asked to write. They were given about fifteen minutes to describe a character.  As in, singular. One. When we went around the room, they shared their characters, each of them actually wrote a story.  In fifteen minutes they had come up with a character that I then blossomed into a story, complete with protagonists, antagonists, multiple arcs.  In fifteen minutes.

Writer friends, artist friends...do you remember when fifteen minutes was more than enough time? When we didn't over think and second guess, or give into writer's block or let life get in the way? When a pen a paper were all that was needed?

In short I want to say thanks Branigan Teens for letting me come by, you reminded me of one of my favorite quotes;

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."  Maya Angelou, I Know Where The Caged Bird Sings