Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The joy of making a world come alive

By R.J. Harlick

Today I diverge from the usual question. Last week fellow CM blogger and acclaimed mystery writer Catriona McPherson tagged me in a kick off to the Sisters In Crime September Blog Tour and gave me the choice of answering one or more of the following questions.

 1. Which authors have inspired you?
 2. Which male authors write great women characters?
 3. If someone said, "Nothing against women writers, but all of my favorite crime fiction authors happen to be men," how would you respond?
4. What's the best part of the writing process for you? What's the most challenging?
5. Do you listen to music while writing? What's on your playlist?
6. What books are on your nightstand right now?
7. If you were to mentor a new writer, what would you tell her about the writing business? 

I thought I would give no. 4 a go, since I am well into the writing process and almost finished the first draft of the next and 7th Meg Harris mystery.

What's the best part of the writing process for you? What's the most challenging?

For me the best part is the first time I put the words on the page and make the story, the characters and the setting come alive. From the germ of an idea, I like evolving the story and following it along its journey, uncertain where it is taking me, or how it is going to end. I throw balls into the air without knowing where in the story they will land or if they even will land. And then celebrate when they land where they were meant too, though I didn’t know until I got there.

With each outing I like watching Meg and Eric, her significant other, continuing on with their lives. I like giving Meg challenges and seeing how she overcomes them. Equally exciting is grasping a new character as if out of air and watching him or her emerge and take on a life of their own.

And I cannot forget setting. I love conjuring up a world with all the sights, sounds and smells that will transport my readers to another place.

But as much as I enjoy writing the first draft, I also find it the most challenging, for it doesn’t come without aches and pains and brick walls. Words don’t exactly flow from my fingers onto the page. Sometimes they do, like at the beginning or the end, but mostly they come with much head scratching and long walks with the dogs, all the while asking myself what in the world does Meg do next.


To continue this blog tour I am tagging another CM blogger and fellow Canadian author, Robin Spano. I am providing website links to both Catriona and Robin. If you haven’t already sampled their books, why not give one a go. You might discover a new favourite author.

2 comments:

Paul D. Marks said...

RJ, love the image of throwing "balls into the air without knowing where in the story they will land or if they even will land. And then celebrate when they land where they were meant too, though I didn’t know until I got there."

It's nice to have a finished script, but getting there is half the fun.

Robin Spano said...

Ha. I feel like I'm perpetually in the head scratching and long walks stage lately. Great post and thanks for the tag!