In your imagination you can go anywhere–as long as you have an imagination, that is. If you are hide-bound into your mindset of living within a narrow boundary you’ve created for yourself, then you have no imagination, and you are never going to soar. That’s a fact.
You have to be willing to take a chance. You have to be willing to push into places where you are not comfortable. You have to avoid the easy way of everything and look at things in ways that might just turn your mind sideways.
I did that with my last story. I set it in a strange land, dealing with legends that don’t make sense to Westerners, and the main characters are a male Hindu healer and a female Muslim scientist, and damned if there isn’t a lot of blood and gore but nary a kiss in the whole freakin’ story.
Yeah, but man, is it good.
I like to get into my character’s minds, and I do so by talking to them. No, really. I’ll carry on conversations as my characters with other people, or as other people with my characters, or as other people talking to other people about my characters. Yes, it makes you strange, but it also lets you work things out because it doesn’t become a mind game; it’s all about how you see that person, and how others see that person, how the actions of both fall together and interact to bring about events.
I did that today while I was walking through a mall, and later when I was shopping for groceries. I not only talk about them or of them or as them, but I do so with emotion. I do so with intelligence. I keep it, so to speak, real. I’ve done this with stories, I’ve done this with games, and I’ll keep doing it because it’s something I like to do.
Every so often I get scenes in my head that I feel out trying to pick up the mood of what’s happening and then see how my characters fit into that scene. How did they get there; what are they doing; where are they going. I’ve got one that’s been with me for a few days–almost a week, really. Or maybe longer. I can’t say, but I can see . . ..
It’s a couple, man and woman, lying in bed. It’s one of those days where you’re on the cusp between spring and summer, where the mornings are cool but as the sun rises the heat comes up quickly. They are both naked; he is behind her, spooning her. Their legs are covered from the hips down with the comforter. She’s hugely pregnant–8 months along with triplets. (Hey, the best things happen in threes.) He’s got one arm over her and is lightly running his fingers over her tummy, not saying a word, just touching her tummy and somehow making out the forms within. She smiles, uncomfortable but content. She sinks back into him and he slowly runs the palm of his hand from the bottom over her gravid form to the top–
I know why I like that scene: because it really affects me personally. I can so see my character there, because they want to be there. There is no where else, right then, they want to be.
And I am there because I put them there. I went to that place and said, “Yes, this needs to happen to these people. Because . . . it is their life.”
Make is so.
When the imagination is open for business you have so much before you. All you have to do is stick out your thumb and say, “Ride?”.
Next Stop, Everywhere.
And, yes, I picked tonight’s title because Doctor Who was on tonight and it rocked. And I like the idea that I can go anywhere.