Die With Your Boots On
I admire writers who come up with an idea for a story and then fully develop those stories out, from beginning conclusion. Imagining every story arc and then neatly outlining the entire book or story into a tidy, well behaved concept. They have a fully developed map of where they are going and how they are going to get there.
Now, I don’t have a clue what that is like. Let’s just say that organizational skills are not high on my list of talents. (You should see my closet. On second thought, never mind.) When I get a new idea for a story, it usually works like this: I imagine a cool, to me anyway, idea for a story, with a vague general notion for an ending, and I start typing. Where I end up and how I get there is usually just as much as a surprise to me as it is to the reader.
When I was challenged (thanks to Mr. Rosamilia) to write a piece of zombie erotica, my first reaction was, “I can’t write erotica. Especially zombie erotica. I mean, what will the neighbors think?” My second was, “I don’t write zombies.” But I when I was basically triple dog dared to do it (and anybody who has seen A Christmas Story knows you cannot back down from that and still keep even a shred of your dignity), I began to seriously entertain the thought. After all, it would be a nice challenge to be pushed that far out of my normal comfort zone, right? Right?!
So when it came time to write “Die With Your Boots On”, I knew immediately that I wanted to write a sexy interlude that occurs with two humans during a zombie apocalypse. But that was all I really knew. It wan’t until I began to flesh out my characters that I actually knew what was going to happen next. My original concept had a happy ending, or at least a hopeful one, but after I wrote Sammi and Brody, I came to realize that, sadly, there was only one way that the story could end. I like to think that my writing is as character driven is it is plot driven because I put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the fictional people on my computer screen.
There are a lot of quotes and cliches about writing. My personal favorite is “Write drunk. Edit Sober.” by Ernest Hemingway because it gives me a credible excuse to drink. Several involved bleeding. But to me, writing is about the birthing process of characters. Inventing people from thin air and giving them personalities, physical attributes, lives and loves. And hopefully, making them interesting enough to draw in the reader and propel the story to its conclusion.
So, it is my personally held belief that writing is comparable to giving birth. You are creating people where there weren’t any before, even if they only exist on the page. It is just as mentally exhausting, at least for me, as giving birth, but I don’t end up have to get for 2:00 a.m. feedings with ice on my butt when I’m done.
Of course, I could be up drinking and writing as suggested by Mr. Hemingway.
Lisa Woods has been writing horror since she was ten when her first eight-page tome got her a trip to the guidance counselor and a call home from the principal. “Die With Your Boots On” is her first published piece. Born and raised in Oklahoma, she currently lives in Iowa with her family, a pit bull, a hedgehog and a parrot. She is working on her first novel.
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