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Where Would he Go?
April 17, 2008
Writing a novel starts out like creating an intricate tiled mosaic. I mull and think, much like an artisan would play with different colors and sizes of stone and glass. Pieces sift out of my brain, remembered either from my own experience, conversations with others, or triggered by research, other novels, movies, even pop songs. I try different pieces, discard some, keep others. If I keep my eyes and ears open, the pieces I’m missing arrive, sent by someone much wiser than me who always knows exactly what I need.
Once I had Michael’s voice in my head and knew I’d throw a hurricane at him, I needed to figure out what to do with my scuba guy after the storm stole his life.
A few days following the free write session, I went to a lecture by Mel Glenn. He spoke about creating a cool teen girl character and sending her to Brooklyn, his home town, and creating a shy young man (much like himself as a teen) to fall for her.
A-ha! Why couldn’t I do that? Writer’s are always and forever told to write what we know. As a young writer, I detested that advice. I knew so little--a rural farming town in Eastern Washington and a pig farm that I had recently escaped. I didn’t want to write about that. But with years of perspective to help, I realized that my small town high school and my grandmother’s tiny white house would be the perfect place to strand an urban teen used to traveling the world scuba diving with his parents.
And my diver would inevitably meet the only Mormon girl in that school (much like myself as a teen), and for the first time in her life, she’d be faced with a guy she cared for deeply who needed her like no one ever needed her before.
|My high school where I made Michael go to school.|
|Downtown Tekoa. Notice the Variety Store? Remember that scene?|
|This is the infamous railroad trestle.|
|My grandmother's house in Tekoa. It was so pretty when she lived there. Trees and flowers.|
|Here's the wheat fields I surrounded Michael with.|
|Oh, there's Leesie tearing up the road!|
|The farmhouse I where I lived growing up. It was white back then.|
|Tekoa Mountain. I know it's a hill, but it's the highest hill around.|