Around twelve years ago my brother and I discussed writing books. You see, I was always the imaginative one, and he was the analytical one. We thought if we both wrote books, and worked together to develop the story, we could combine our natural talents.
To be entirely truthful, even though I tried to see myself as his equal, he was still my big brother. He was only a year older, and as we got older it made less and less difference, that one year.
But he was my big brother nonetheless, and I looked to him in many ways as little brothers do. I followed him when he had ideas and tried to help as much as possible. So it was with the idea of writing. We had regular “what if” discussions about all sorts of things. From these discussions the idea of writing books came up.
My brother checked books out of the library, bought others, all teaching how to structure a novel, develop a story, draw a reader in etc. etc. He shared what he learned with me, and I soaked it up, but always in the back of my mind was… ‘What about the story?’.
So eventually he started writing. So did I, or at least tried to. I was no good, and couldn’t figure out why. By the time I figured out I couldn’t write, he had written a few rough chapters. He called them rough, I called them amazing.
You see, even though I couldn’t write then to save my life, I knew what I liked in books and stories. He had a gift, and I decided to help him. At the same time, I’d talk to him about how he wrote, and learned what I could.
As far as I know, he never made it past those first chapters he wrote. Which is a real shame. But he did help me. You see, his analytical mind was able to make “filler” that seemed real. It was the ordinary everyday stuff people don’t really pay attention to in their routines. I also realized that although I had a great imagination, I did not use it to create. I just cobbled together what others had already done. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, without even realizing it.
A few months back I was discussing with a friend about writing and he encouraged me to try again. I was reluctant, but I decided to give it a go. What I realized was, I had learned more from my brother than I had realized. My friend said he thought it was great, when I pushed him to find faults with it, he found a little repetition in one paragraph. I found more little things, but I really surprised myself.
I wanted to read more, just like I did with my favorite authors. I had something in me I never knew, and now I need help. Just as my brother helped me see where I was going wrong before which showed me the how, now I need help with the what.
I have three stories in my head so far, and I need facts. I need other people’s perceptions, feelings, perspectives.
I will be making posts on specifics and I expect them to segue into all sorts of other things. At least I hope they will. But I also hope that people commenting will feel like they are helping to build something important.
I’m still asking ‘What about the story?’, and I hope I can make them good ones.