Capturing the Flame




Sometimes, when writing, you have that moment. That flash, where whatever you’re writing – or rewriting – suddenly stops happening the way you intended and something else falls onto the page. Something strange and seemingly out of place. Something that somehow calls to you and says “There you are; was waiting for you to find me.” That moment is one of the best parts of writing.

Unfortunately, its appearances are not nearly as frequent as we would like. Sometimes they are even unwelcome, not appreciated; when whatever the intruder presents completely clashes with where we think we’re actually going and doesn’t seem to have a way to fit in or link to what you were trying to do. So we chase them away, not treasuring that blast of semi-divine inspiration. Not knowing that it may be the last time it comes around, fearful of the editor’s pen or the creator’s displeasure.

But when they do come, and they do fit, and the creator welcomes them… they can be amazing. I have a couple I liked, that I was proud of; when the little boy in “Woman at the Window” thinks to himself “she knows about the rabbit,” I had to stop. Ask myself “What rabbit? I don’t know anything about the rabbit!” I could have just deleted it, moved along, but I think it worked out for the better, giving more reasons for the Woman’s actions and adding at least a little complexity to the little boy’s fears. (If you haven’t already, and would like to give it a read, you can do so right here.)

Another, which has not seen the light of day – and honestly, may never do so – comes from “The Cow Says Die.” Yes, I know the title’s stupid. But starting off with a possessed Speak-N-Spell that was just supposed to freak a couple people out, then the bombshell of why it’s possessed – which had never been part of the initial plan, since it was just supposed to be a freaky sting – being dropped and altering the whole course of the rest of the story pleased me, even if I didn’t feel the end result was worth sharing.

So what’s it all about? Finding that fire, watching my careful planning burn in a creative fire that consumes, tempers and improves what I was trying to accomplish. Something to refire the carb and make pushing the words across the page into something that I want to do, and enjoy doing, instead of doing it only to fill time and pretend I can still call myself a writer.

Need to find myself some matches.


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