When Imagination Changes Your Life

Posted by on Jun 5, 2012 in Author Advice, Protector Series, Random, Writing | 10 comments

Although it happens sporadically, writing has been coming along well on the third book in the Protector series. I’m sitting around 25k words for the first draft and oddly enough, I really love everything so far. That, of course, is subject to change randomly and for no reason whatsoever, but as it stands right now, I’m very happy.

As most of you know, I had a lot of trouble starting this story. So much so that I’d sit down to write every night, and end up chatting on Twitter, looking at random things on Pintrest, or finding myself so desperate not to write, I was actually on the dreaded Facebook. Once I realized I was approaching the initial chapters wrong, the fog was lifted.

Writing this book feels different to me. I’m not sure what it is just yet, but based on reader response of the first two books, and the vibe I had writing them, whatever I’m feeling as I write, you’ll be feeling as you read. This feeling I have isn’t a bad thing, though. It’s just different.

My characters have grown a lot in the past two novels. Not as much in Exiled as in Shift, but even in the first 25k words of book 3 I see major growth. I can feel Chase changing with each word. The characters around him are evolving, as are the worlds. Chase is becoming more than a hunter, and more than a boy. As each book is published, readers are discovering he’s becoming a man. Not because he’s older, but because he’s growing as a person. He’s learning from his mistakes and maturing into the person he will be in the future. He’s becoming more powering than ever before, and it has nothing to do with magic, but at the same time, watching him grow is magical.

It is an incredible experience to watch someone develop, change, and grow. To turn into their own person who has left behind the mistakes and successes of their past, and looks forward to the future with more experienced eyes. I watch this each and every day with my children. I have a five-year-old daughter, and an almost one-year old and they grow every day. Being at different stages in life, they’re each attempting different tasks, and whether they achieve success in accomplishing those tasks, or success by finding a way that doesn’t work, they grow.  On a much faster timeline, writing a book series is similar. Chase was seventeen when this book started. He’s only eighteen now as only a few months have passed in the story, but his experiences have been so extreme, so rich, that he’s changed.

At seventeen, he was my baby. Just a lost boy in a world full of monsters. At eighteen he’s on his own, albeit with friends and still surrounded by monsters, but he’s freed himself from me. It’s true that as I think about the story, I break down the road blocks, and I push the keys, spelling out the dialogue, actions, and descriptions, but this is Chase’s story. A story about him and the people he’s pulled into his world. I am no longer just a mere puppeteer. I may be the man who pushes the buttons, but Chase is the one telling his story now. He’s grown into something bigger than just me. He takes the story away from my outline, he reacts in ways I never thought he would, and he takes command like I never expected.

This book is different. It feels different as I read it and it moves me in different ways as I write it. As much as Chase has grown during this process, so have I. I’ve improved as a writer, a story teller, and a person. How can a person I created in my imagination have such an effect on me? It’s an amazing and somewhat frightening thought. To think the fictional characters I created have a set of strings themselves is ridiculous. Yet when he pulls, I move. He releases and I change, turning and developing with each passing page. As much as I’m creating a new world with new characters, those characters are creating a new me; an experience I can’t truly explain and I have yet to fully understand.

As I write this story and the characters in it, I realize this is book 3 in a 4 book series. With that, their story arc is beginning to peak and soon, it will be on it’s decent to an end. As I attempt to pull the last few strings together in what I hope will be an incredible ending, I realize they’re pulling back harder then ever before, and they aren’t alone; they have the assistance of characters from yet unwritten stories. It’s amazing that as their arc comes to a close, they’re morphing me into a new person, and it’s changing my life’s arc. Because of fictional, made up characters. Because of characters that have yet to exist, I’m growing as a person. But it isn’t just because of those made-up people. It’s because my children reignited the spark of creativity inside me, opening up a once-forgotten force of  wonder and imagination. Because of my kids, my imagination has been rocked open. Because of my imagination I am able to create these characters. And together, my kids, my wife, and these invisible people, are changing me.

It’s incredible when a child’s ability to see the unseeable, reignites that lost gift inside yourself. It changes who you are entirely and makes you wonder how you ever lost that gift. It’s altered my life in countless ways, it’s molded me into something new, and it’s changed the way I write. That’s the power of imagination. The power of children. That, my friends, is a phenomenon I hope to never, ever forget.