Phillip Thompson

Crime Fiction writer

Ran across two interesting pieces today that tie back to yesterday’s post about naming characters and “meeting them for the first time.”

In the first, novelist Francisco Goldman describes part of the writing process — specifically, the creation of his novel, partly as a way to deal with the grief of losing his wife. Goldman mentions that when he writes, he feels a “constant presence.”

That’s an excellent description of the creative process. When I’m really focused on it, the story is the presence. I can completely understand how actors get lost in a role, living “in character.” I can get lost in the story and feel it around me, especially when I’m behind a closed door and really concentrating on writing. Like when I mentioned naming a character allows me to meet someone for the first time — that presence starts growing from that moment. Of course, this sometimes gets you some strange looks from the non-writing public.

The second piece, by Derek Haines, is also on the money (plus, if you’re a dog lover, there’s a great puppy picture at the link) — how many times have you smelled something that immediately conjures up a vivid memory? For me, it’s the smell of JP-5, the aviation fuel used by the military. Or a well-worn football. The strength of the connection between the smell and the memory usually evokes (or sustains) that “constant presence” for me.

Also, submitted another story today to storySouth. Currently have two different ones out, one (“The Booze Rumor”) to a paper journal, and this one (“The Things They Shouldn’t Do”).

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