Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Rubatosis: The Unveiling

If you follow my blog at all, you are well aware by now that I am knee-deep into a new manuscript.
This, ladies and gents, is the unveiling of it.  

But really, this is nothing new. I've had the characters in mind for a year now. I've actually written them into two other stories, before this one, and then deleted it. 

I was struggling, bad, but I was so in love with my characters--Noah specifically--that I wanted to make it work. I knew I had a story for him. So March of this year, I was finally able to figure that story out, and in about a week, I finished the synopsis. 

Then, something weird happened. 
And when I say weird, I mean weirder than that girl showing off her dance moves to the Frankenstein-looking guy in the GIF above. 

I met the main character of my book. 

Yeah, go ahead and re-read that sentence above, people! I freaking MET the MAIN CHARACTER of MY book! How bizarre is that?!?!

Let me explain as thoroughly as I can. 

A year ago I produced the idea of my character, Noah. (I had previously named him Theo--meaning God's gift--but it was super corny so I changed it.) The first image I'd ever had of Noah was that of him sitting on the porch of a small farmhouse, watching a swarm of birds fly by, they were migrating south. I was so intrigued by this character that I immediately wrote down everything I knew about him. For example, I knew that Noah was interested in birds. He was curious about them, and he wanted to know why they did what they did. I knew that Noah was an adventurer because of it--he's an explorer of many things--he likes to learn. I knew that Noah could sing and play the guitar, and along with that, I knew that he had a deep love for books. He collects them, and he spends most of his time reading them. He actually connects with them so much that he is able to relate the stories he's read to the people he's encountered in real life. Deeper than that, though, I knew that Noah was broken. At a young age, he had already experienced so much life, more than anyone he knew, and it made him rough around the edges--a depressive by nature. I also knew that Noah was a lover, and a genuine guy just trying to figure out what life entails. But there was one thing I knew about Noah that would carry the theme of the entire book: he has a condition with his heart that causes it to beat two times too fast. It's how I got the title. When rubatosis is defined, it means, the unsettling awareness of one's own heartbeat. 
Perfect, right?

And then I met Caleb. 

Before I met him, I was already warned that this Caleb character had a mild obsession with birds. In fact, that's all I knew about him for a couple of weeks, and, to be quite honest, I didn't think anything of it. When I met him at the church camp I interned with this summer (yes, this is the one from last summer as well,) I knew that Caleb and Noah were very similar . . . and this was after he explained to me how birds reproduce. I didn't realize it all at once--though there was a turning point when I was like, "what the hell? Is this actually happening right now?

Here's a timeline of things: 
*note: I've already had Noah written out for about nine months up until this point. 

Three weeks into the summer: Caleb and I become friends. He's reading this book to me about science (He's an Environmental Bio major,) and about half an hour into it, and after he's already asked, "are you sure you want me to keep reading out loud? I could do this all day, but I don't want to annoy you," about a thousand times, I find myself wondering if, in fact, he could do it all day. So I ask him, and for some reason that I can't remember, he takes me to the trunk of his car. When he opens it, inside lies a little more than fifty books spilling from this old duffle bag. There was probably more. He told me that he had plans of reading all of them this summer. That he just really liked reading. That day I remember quoting, "You remind me of my book character." To this he said, "Are you writing about me?" My response: "Yeah. I guess I am." 

A few days later: He walks into the dining hall and starts playing his guitar. He was good from what I could tell. Then he began to sing, and I about lost it. The kid is freaking amazing. Like, go record an album immediately, amazing. 

Sometime in the middle of the summer: At this point, I've known Caleb for awhile, and I gather that he's a very passionate, very thorough, person. I also learn that, like Noah, he's endured a lot of heartaches in his life. Because of it, it's changed his perception on how he views people and the outside world. 

Toward the end of summer: Now, this is the part that baffled me the most. I'm in the kitchen, yappin' about something unimportant, and out of nowhere, Caleb says, "Yeah, I have a heart condition." He tells me that as a child, he went to get it checked out multiple times, but at some point he got tired of it. He learned that he had an abnormal heartbeat, and I'm pretty sure he was so nonchalant about the whole thing he said something along the lines of: "If I die, I die."

I was so freaked out about everything that I about died. Literally, right there. And I tried to tell him that he was Noah, but he didn't understand. 
Then I tried to tell anyone who would listen to me. I felt like I was going crazy, and I needed to process what was happening. 
People understood, but they didn't. Not really: I met a character that I made up in my head. These things don't happen often--if, ever. As I'm writing this, I'm still completely baffled. Noah is so real, I can touch him. I can touch him and know that every good and bad thing about him resides in my friend, Caleb. How is this possible?

And besides some of the obvious facts, there were many other similarities that made them alike, even down to the exact, same, complicated eye color. I told myself that if I didn't finish this book, then I was a literal idiot. God had somehow allowed me to spend the entire summer with my book character, and if I didn't use those experiences, I'd just be wasting myself. (God's gift, huh?)

So here I am, about two months later and about three hours into writing this, swearing to whoever is reading this, and to the world, that I will finish this book, this year, by December. I will do whatever it takes--even if that means writing one thousand words each week. EVEN if that means that I have to sacrifice sleep, chocolate, and boys. 

It will be done. This is a promise. 

To conclude this very long, drastic and dramatic blog post, I will sign my name in blood (not really, that's completely impossible.) 

Here goes:

I solemnly swear to abide by all promises listed above--yes, even the one about giving up boys,

Britney S. Lewis

Friday, September 4, 2015

Music and Writing

After receiving some encouraging words, and a little heartache, I'm back at it again--I'm writing!

There is hope for this book to see the end.

The advice my writing friends gave me summed up to this: Just write something, even if you don't like it. 

So I did, for awhile, and they were right--the juices came back. 

But anyway, today's blog post is about music and writing. 

I noticed that I am substantially inspired by music when it comes to my writing. Anything with an acoustic guitar, minors, and a voice with soul, seems to pull all the great words and scenes out of me. 

I don't know what it does to me, but it makes me feel . . . . it makes me feel a lot. So much so that I have to listen to that song over and over again so that I can create those feelings. 

This new book I'm writing, I think I'll call it Rubatosis, retains most of it's scenes from songs that have inspired me. I had a friend ask me the other day, "How do you translate a song into a scene?"

Here's my response: You have to take the essence of it--the throbbing, the tempo, the chords--force it into your heart, and translate those words into scenes.

So this is what I've been doing. 

Most of the music I've been listening to has been written or covered by a friend of mine who is an amazing guitar player, writer, and vocalist. He creates very, very sad songs, so if you're into that like myself, check out some of his tunes: 

Running -- Most Recent!

And of course, other musicians:

And anything by Ray LaMontagne:

Well, that's it for this post! I hope some of this music makes you inspired as well! 
What do you listen to to promote inspiration? 

In my next blog post, I'll be talking more about Rubatosis, and hopefully, I can finish up some series: How Writers Made It Big, and Writing in the Twenty-First Century. 

Till Next Time!

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