As a writer there are different ways each of us interpret and convey our stories. Some of us listen to our characters and tell the story that they're telling us. Some of us line up our characters and tell them what to do. Some of us do a mixture of the two. None do exactly the same thing. We each have our little process and techniques that we cling to because they've become habit.
No matter how we connect with our characters or our story, though, there is one thing that each writer has in common: Occasionally a story or character will take over our brains.
I'm not talking about literally taking over our lives, of course (though now I'm thinking that would be an awesome idea and I may need to write that in my Shiny New Idea Book.) I mean that the character or story will become something that we can't stop thinking about.
We'll picture scenes, or just the character themselves. Hear the dialogue running through our heads. Find that ending that we just have to put down on paper (or in a word document, whatever.) And it will distract us from anything else we could (or should) be working on. It doesn't matter if we're in the middle of a novel, these projects overpower anything else until we're left wanting nothing more than to write that story.
Not too long ago I was introduced to a new webzine that a friend of mine helped to start up entitled Insomnia Press. I was reading through their website (including submissions. I may not write a whole lot of short stories, but I thought I might as well take a look) and I came across the theme to their third issue: Death, Lies and Secrets.
I'll admit, this may seem like a rather broad theme. When I first read it I thought 'that's it?' I was going to just navigate away, sure I could never write anything dark enough to fit in either that theme, or the publication itself.
Apparently I was wrong. (Okay, I hope I was. I'm not actually done writing yet, and for all I know it could turn out horrible. I'm going to optimistic this week.) I had just navigated away from the page when a scene flashed through my head.
I'm not going to give away the story now (as I'm hoping to get it published and all) but it's definitely one of my darker pieces.
This story latched itself into my brain, and it's refusing to let go. Stubbornly holding on even though I tried to inform it that I'm in the middle of Camp Nano, and I want to finish the novel I've been working on. It's one of the most insistent stories I've ever come across (and, trust me, I've had some insistent stories.)
After a computer crash that cost me an entire day of writing (no, I didn't kill my computer, yes I wanted to) I decided that 50k words in 4 days, while actually plausible for me, isn't something I was interested in doing during June, so I finally gave in to this driving urge to write the short story.
I started it last night. While I'm only 500 words in (I can only go up to 5000, so I'm trying to be careful with my words) so far, I think it's fantastic.
I will, of course, be looking for beta readers when I'm done to make sure that it has the impact I'm wanting it to have. But, until then, I'm looking forward to writing the rest of it. Even if it's only so I can think about other stories again.