Monday, August 23, 2010


Hey All. I'm running around this week getting my kids ready for school. Did anyone else hear *hallelujah* just now??? :) Anyway, I'm no good for any sort of discussion so I thought I'd put up an old (but still apropos) post from my ancient blog, The Petal Falls.

Magic. That's right, magic. Specifically, the magic that turns a story into a Story.

I'm sure other writers will testify to this, we agonize over the characters -are they realistic, likable; plot -does it make any sense? does it flow? is it exciting?; would this word work better than that one?

In the course of writing Molly and John's story, I've probably written near 500k words and I can recall every scene perfectly. We obsess! No doubt about it. Every writer I know cares deeply about their work. And yet, some stories fail, fall flat. But why? Well, as they say, if I truly knew, I'd be rich.

But as I'm sitting here, my daughter is watching
Enchanted -a movie that ought to suck, mean really, a movie about a nitwit storybook princess plopped down in NYC? But it doesn't! There is something about the movie that transcends the goofy plot, over the top acting, and general unbelievability of it. There is something that comes through that makes me enjoy it. Frankly, I think the actors and crew enjoyed themselves. Joy, passion, love, these things are infectious.

But back to books. How many times have we as writers been hacking away at a story and just not feeling it? And consequently, our stories suffer. Any time I view writing my story as a job -and I'm not talking about editing because that IS a job, the scene falls flat. It is amazing to me, but when I sent out my wip for the first beta read, my readers found fault with all the 'work horse' scenes, the ones I labored over instead of letting flow and enjoying when I wrote them. Reader know. They always do. Writing is more than putting down words, it is feeling. A story isn't just about having something to say; it is a communication of

Think of
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I loved that book, couldn't put it down. But in truth, half the time I was thinking, why am I reading this? Nothing is happening. But the passion that lived in those characters, the passion that Meyer's had for the world she created grabbed hold of me and refused to let go. To me, that is the magic of Twilight.

If you don't' feel that passion, magic, whatever you want to call it, when crafting your story, if you don't feel that giddy high, akin to falling in love (even if you're writing a terrorizing thriller), then I'd take a step back and think hard if what you're writing is the story you really want to write.

I'm not saying that a writer can't create a great story without feeling that passion, but I believe that without passion, that story isn't going to be Magic. Passion = magic.


  1. Kristen,

    Ahhh, yes. Excellent post. I couldn't agree more. Sometimes I find myself PUSHING to write a scene a certain way because it's how I envisioned it. However, for whatever reason, I just can't seem to do it. Most of the time that means I simply need to start over. Something just isn't jiving and I have to step back and reevaluate.

    And yeah... I think you can tell the difference between someone who has passion for their story and someone who is just going through the motions. For that reason, I think a lot of books that aren't necessarily the most well written become HUGE hits with readers. It IS magic.


  2. I heard that "hallelujah" from all the way down here! ;-) And I'm biting my nails because my own lot will be on holidays again in only four short weeks. Sigh. Time flies when you're getting old and cranky ...

    As to the magic - yes, I totally agree. Scenes you have to push out like the last scraps of toothpaste from the tube are usually godawful. At least mine are. So I hope I find the magic when I start writing all the scenes I've re-plotted these past weeks. Fingers crossed!

  3. Amen Kristen! Which is probably why as soon as I brought romance back into the things the writing started to flow more easily... You can't just write from an 'idea' no matter how much you'd like to explore it; the characters have to live and breathe...