I come from storytelling folk. Both of my parents were great raconteurs, their stories always began wonderful and often got better in each retelling. Of course, they also delighted in correcting each other’s version of the story. I was never sure if they each thought theirs were more accurate or just more entertaining.
My dad didn’t come by it quite as naturally. While there is poetry and prose on his side of the family, I don’t recall storytelling, at least not as much. Get any two members of Mom’s family in a room, however, and let the tales begin! They are a social bunch, great lovers of Sunday dinners, holiday parties, and massive reunions. All of those provide fertile ground for story
telling. While in general my relatives don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story, they always riveted me as a child and sowed seeds of love for family history, love for a good
yarn, and a desire to be heard.
I am very aware that at heart, I tell stories. Spoken English is my native language; written English not so much. What works around the campfire, doesn’t always work as well on paper. My books generally begin as a spoken story. The first draft gets my hero and heroine where they need to go. If I get stuck, I find telling someone the story so far helps me figure out where it needs to go. Once I get the story down I start the first editorial pass. That’s when writing takes over. Language matters. The writer in me has to clarify transitions and events, deepen emotions, and dress up the fictional world in evocative detail. When I’m drafting I love the editing process because I can say to myself “I’ll fix that in editing.” When time to do the fixing arrives, I’m less enamored. Sigh.
This week I have a rough draft to finish. I’ll think of my folks, my brother, aunts, uncle’s and cousins and hopefully push on to the end telling the best story I can.
But first, coffee.