Friday, January 16, 2015

Writing Something Familiar

I’m almost done with my purple WIP.  So close.  This is the one that I started during November for NaNoWriMo.  I wrote 50,000 words in November, and now I’ve written about 20,000 words since then, so my momentum has definitely slowed.  Though, to be fair, half of that was written this month.

This week though, I’ve been able to get back on track, and I’m in an interesting part of the story.  I’d accidentally started a section before realizing that I skipped a whole part, so I’ve been simultaneously working on both at the same time.

One of the sections, the main character is taking a tour of a city that is very important to my family.  It’s a teeny tiny town on the edge of Illinois, where the early members of our church gathered, and many important things happened there.  My character is currently taking tours and watching shows that are more than familiar to me.  In fact, one of them, I’ve been in for four years.  She’s also meeting people that I know out there, though I never specify them by name.

With hubby in Nauvoo

The second section, her father falls and hits his head and is rushed to the hospital.  As a nurse, I know what it’s like when someone hits their head, I know how they bleed, what the paramedics will ask, I even know what kinds of things a doctor will look for in that kind of an incident.

Both sections are familiar, and yet, it’s almost surreal writing because it’s not familiar to my MC.  She’s never been to Nauvoo, and she doesn’t know where each building is, how to get from one place to another.  She doesn’t know where the shows are, or which ones she needs tickets to.  And as an added difficulty, all of her travel companions speak Spanish, which she barely understands. 
With the paramedics and hospital, it’s not something that comes naturally to her.  This is her father, and she’s going to react on fear and probably not understand everything that’s going on.

I’ve never had to work so hard to think in someone else’s head.  In all of my other stories, I’m discovering the world with my characters.  They all live in foreign and exotic worlds, so I’m still trying to get an idea of the territory as I write.  But now, these are real world places and situations.  I have to be true to them, make sure that they are exactly right, and show them through the eyes of someone who’s not going to know what kind of assessments a doctor will do in an emergency room.  Or who doesn’t know the difference between Parley and Muholland Street.

Have you ever had to write about something you know well, but present it in a way that’s utterly foreign to you?