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  • June 9th, 2009 | 5:16 AM
Characters write back

In response to the letters I wrote to characters yesterday, the characters have written back. Yesterday was one of those wonderful writing times when I started writing the letter to Flyboy and suddenly had several plots items fall nicely into place. It opened the door to a couple of great scenes and some nice potential conflict. I love it when my weird process works!

Dear Clueless Author,

Did you see the size of that dog? He was catching steel-belted tires in mid-air. There is no way I am going anywhere near that monster.

So you're telling me that you can't remember the dog my babysitter had when we lived in Iowa? The one the who grabbed hold of my ankle when I was on the swing and decided to use me as a pull-toy? If Wilson hadn't come home when he did and turned the hose on that wolf I might have lost my foot. How is it that you can remember what altitude I'm supposed to be flying but you can't remember something as important as me getting bit by a dog? Sometimes I wonder why you even want to tell my story.

Okay, maybe you need glasses. That would explain the dog thing. Did you take a look at Spencer? I mean, she had a tank top on so tight that she wasn't leaving much to the imagination, if you know what I mean. I took one look at her . . .  well, at her and I decided that keeping the truck between her and a certain part of my anatomy was probably a good thing. I have no idea who Edna is but please don't make her look anything like Spencer, will ya?

I don't know what's in the wallet because, as you might remember if your brain wasn't fried from being old, I dropped the wallet when that security guard caught me and it's still sitting under a plane at the airport. At least I hope that's where it is.

Now you have to figure out how I can convince Spencer to take me back there so I can get the wallet before someone else finds it. And while you're at it can you make sure Wilson isn't too pissed off at me whenever I finally do get back home again?


Dear Author,
You know those bugs you found? Well they're important. Especially the one that creeps you out. If I were you I'd make sure to keep checking the yarrow for bugs and taking pictures. I'm not sure what I'm going to need them for but I'm pretty sure they're important to my story.

Here's the thing. Summer time, nice weather like you're having now, well it might seem like the perfect time for working on my story but you'd be wrong. Not a time to be moving those native plants around. It's too hot and there's no water and everything's in a state of rest. That's okay. Underneath those 4 inches mulch there's a lot happening. Worms are churning up the soil something fierce. Tap roots are finding their way deeper and deeper underground, looking for that water table. And all kinds of micro organisms are banding together like a family of their own to make the soil healthier than it was before. Stuff's happening above ground too.  Seeds are ripening and then falling out of the flowers and onto the mulch where they'll wait (if the birds don't get 'em first) for the rains to come and start everything a'growing again.

So it's okay to wait.

But yeah, there's still a big old hole in the roof, almost as big as the one in my family. Nan, she waltzes in and out of our lives whenever she wants. Can't seem to find a place to sink her roots and grow. Grammy, well she likes to pretend Nan's okay but I know better.

Plant Kid

Dear Writer Person,

I'm waiting with the gypsy lady until you have time for me. Can't figure there's any reason to speak up when I know you're not going to listen. I'm used to being invisible. I like it when people don't notice me. Less chances of getting hurt that way.

Max's friend

There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 15 comments — Leave comment )
(Deleted comment)
June 9th, 2009 04:00 pm (UTC)
Hahaha. You know I practice a lot of "Field of Dreams" sorts of things. If you write it they will answer? The first few I tried were really rough but eventually things start coming to me. Plant Kid is always the easiers as I think his voice is the most clear in my head. Flyboy is a struggle but I came to him with plot first and it shows.
June 9th, 2009 01:02 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you're back in a letter writing phase!!!
June 9th, 2009 03:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Liz. Me too!
June 9th, 2009 02:10 pm (UTC)
Nice responses!
June 9th, 2009 03:44 pm (UTC)
Kel, thanks for the comment the other day. i've been away from Live Journal for more than a year...just no time. But I have discovered face book and you can find me there. (Kellye Crocker.) Are you there?! Hope all is well! I miss my LJ friends!
June 9th, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
No Facebook for me. Alas.
June 9th, 2009 03:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks Kelly. They obviously don't always land in the book this way but they open up my thinking which is the whole idea.
June 9th, 2009 03:04 pm (UTC)
I am SO in love with Flyboy.
June 9th, 2009 03:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks Becky. However I woke up this morning and realized that the real reason he wouldn't get in the truck was because the dog was in there. Ah well.
June 9th, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC)
The letter-writing is cool. Once, in desperation, I interviewed a character. That's when I found out that the guy I was trying to make her have an unlikely romance with was gay! Then it all made sense! So strange how the many processes and universe all work...but keep going!
June 9th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
Susan, so happy to hear "weird process" is working!

So glad characters are writing back!
June 9th, 2009 06:50 pm (UTC)
My apologies!
Susan, when I first wrote to you on Facebook, your name didn't register. Then I got to thinking, and immediately remembered that I've seen your books! Talk about a dumbo. I do apologize!

June 9th, 2009 07:35 pm (UTC)
I love your characters. I love your process.
June 10th, 2009 02:28 am (UTC)
Susan, these are *great!* I can't wait to actually be able to read their stories. :)
June 11th, 2009 12:49 am (UTC)
This is so wonderful, Susan. I love how you approach this.
( 15 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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