Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Let's Talk About Imagination

"I'm just 'tending, daddy." (psst...that's child slang for "pretending," btw)

This is what I said to my father at the tender age of 4 when he was concerned that I wasn't aware of the difference between reality and make believe. We were at a restaurant, my mom, a friend of the family, and obviously my dad and I.

My mother, who likes to tell this story, then explains how I looked at my father, rolled my eyes, huffed out a completely exasperated sigh and put him in his place. My face and tone were nothing short of saying to him, "How can you be so stupid to think I don't know the difference?" My father is a very black and white person, so its easy to see how my gray line confused him. Ya know what? Still does. LMAO!

So this was me, at the age of 4.

Mind you, my best friends are very likely nodding their heads right now saying, "I'm not suprised at all." :)

Yeah yeah...I know, I've not changed too much.

Nor has my imagination.

I was an only child and was used to playing alone, talking to fake people, creating stories. I was BIG into barbies...using them to reinact musicals (using the original Broadway recording--on tape--for the songs of course) or tell stories...but those stories were "on going" a soap opera.

So you see, I've always been long winded. :)

I've also always been detail oriented and very visual. As I got older this didn't change. If you're old enough to remember when the "Sony Walkman" came out you know it changed everything! You could take your music EVERYWHERE and no one could hear it but you! How wonderful! SAVED me from the boring drives to church (30 min drive each way) three times a week (Wednesday night, Sunday morning & again some Sunday nights. What can I say? Baptists.) with my parents. I'd listen to music and daydream.

Before I dicovered rock-n-roll in 7th grade I would listen to...are you ready for this? I would listen to the score to the latest John Williams movie...aka Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back & Return of the Jedi, mostly. I'd use the music to dream up my own stories.

No suprise that music today still lights my imagination on fire. Some of my best action sequences or romantic scenes come to me on the train, listening to music (used to come to me in the car before I lived in NYC). I literally can see scenes in my head.

I think, in many ways, this history and vast imagination are the key to my writing. I stated on Twitter today the following: "If you create a thorough & meticulous world for your series, with well flushed-out characters...continuing that world will be fun, not a chore."

As a writer, especially a Fantasy/Sci-fi writer, I think its extremely important that you take the time to know the world you create. Know everything about it. Do research if you can and visit the area you set its a real place...that is, if you don't live there already. Its obvious that Cassandra Clare spent time in and did research on/about London before writing The Infernal Devices first book, "Clockwork Angel" AND that Nora Roberts has spent MUCH time in Clare, Ireland.

But even if your land is totally make believe, it should be as real to you as your back yard. Know every inch of it. Know the laws and the rules, how things exist there...know it by heart (or jot it down if its easier for you...I have maps of areas in Boston and Canada to aide me). Live and breathe that place, those people. If you do, so will your reader AND if its a'll be a joy to write the sequels, not work. You'll have endless possibilities. Cassandra Clare's Immortal Instruments Series is a wonderful example of this kind of detail.

I pray I too can take my readers on multiple journeys in the Living Dead Girl Novels...seeing as my head has lived there on and off for almost 20 years.

Now, it's time to start the 2nd edit of that bad bitch of a manuscript so when you buy the book this October (and I pray you do) it doesn't suck. :)

Until I emerge from my edits...


Tamsin :)

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