23 February 2007

Following the Story Line

A writer writes not because he is educated but because he is driven by the need to communicate. Behind the need to communicate is the need to share. Behind the need to share is the need to be understood. The writer wants to be understood much more than he wants to be respected or praised or even loved. And that perhaps, is what makes him different from others.
~ Leo Rosten


M
y friends never cease to amaze me. They are wells of hidden talents and gifts. And I never feel so blessed as when I am present to have a taste of that talent. The American Inklings are just such a group of friends. Our last meeting was an incredible success. We gathered around my dining room table and read our scribblings out loud to each other. And such scribblings! I think we all knew that each had something to say, creative fires that were burning deep inside and dying to warm an audience.

But I do not think that any of us knew just how talented we each are ~ ourselves included. As you may recall, our writing exercise from our last meeting was to finish a story, with lines contributed by all of us. Three of the members worked on the project and came up with three incredibly different and incredibly interesting storylines:

Ann S. created a fantasy/science fiction world for her main character. She originally considered setting the story in Scotland and later chose Virginia as the starting point, ending in Iceland. Her story involves a mysterious disappearance, a crusty old sailor and a Golden Whale.

Jackie D. envisioned a psychological thriller in which the main character questions reality and his or her own sanity. Was the fall from the cliffs real? A dream? A nightmare? What is reality?

Yours truly, as you know, placed the main characters in Scotland and the story involves a nameless horror, murder, intrigue and hidden identities, history and of course, romance. I had considered “writing what I know” and setting it in Virginia, but stayed with Scotland instead – the complete opposite of Ann. :-)

None of us completed the exercise ~ that is, we did not put an ending to the story. We continued it. And we each found ourselves captivated by our characters and the story they wanted to tell us. It was not simply enough to just stick an ending on ~ we had to follow the story line. And to have such diverse paths from one beginning was fascinating and exciting to hear.

Now the next assignment is to continue to follow the stories and see where they take us. Writer and reader alike cannot wait to hear what happens next!
Our next meeting is Friday, March 9, 2007. The place is yet to be determined, but it will be outside the Beltway, somewhere near Reston. If you would like to join us, please feel free to email me at mdeigh (at) gmail (dot) com.
And remember ~ keep writing!
Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela
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