Writer’s epiphany, where does it come from?

Karalee’s Post #56

I’ve been struggling, really struggling (okay, I’ve admitted it) to create a super protagonist that I relate to on a deep visceral level and someone who I can struggle and grow with. That is what I yearn to do in my novel. I’m also convinced that when I get into that groove I will have so much fun and satisfaction that getting published will be the icing on a rich multi-layered chocolate cake. Now that’s a great vision.

But a vision doesn’t get the job done. So what is this epiphany I’m talking about? 

The genre I love writing in is mystery thriller and I’ve gravitated to having a female detective. But in reality, I’m not a cop and don’t live and breathe cop-ese. I’ve done my homework to learn about the trade, such as taking a Police Academy course and going on a ride-along for a 12-hour shift (great experience and I was there after a bank robbery, a stolen car, and stolen property that brought the police dogs out). And, of course, there is always ongoing reading and research, and I have some practice in shooting guns in Las Vegas at one of their many “gun experience” stores.

That said, progress on my manuscript has been lagging behind my enthusiasm. It’s not that I haven’t been busy regarding my writing career. I’ve taken Jami Gold’s ‘Seat of your Pants’ outlining course and have spent productive time learning more about the Scrivener writing software so I can be more efficient in my organisation of my manuscript and have sent off a short story to one of Writers Digest contests.

And all the while, I’ve been trying to visualize and write out who my protagonist really is.

Yes, my days have been full to overflowing, but all told my satisfaction level has been low and my self-inflicted nemesis called Guilt has been swooping down trying to claw at me like Hitchcock’s, The Birds. I was twelve and babysitting when I first saw that movie.

Maybe you remember where you were too?

I can still see it and feel it as though it were yesterday and I was WAY TOO SCARED to go upstairs and check on the children sleeping!

That may have been the start of my writing career now that I think about it. What would I do to be able to instill such a long-lasting emotional response to a story? It is well worth devoting my life to, and NO, I’m not setting my expectations too high.

With my manuscript progressing at a staggering limp I decided to offer my help to a friend that is trying to write a non-fiction book. I can introduce her to Scrivener and help her organize and we can spin our ideas together.

We are meeting on Friday. 

What fun!  And it is still in the writing arena to boot.

Today I was sorting through some Christmas stocking stuffers I have been accumulating throughout the year in the anticipation of making a list for a shopping afternoon with my daughter on Friday. I was opening the bags and looking at this and that, and remembering where I was and what I was doing when I had purchased them. My mind was in neutral and I was simply enjoying the peace of the moment.

Then out of nowhere an epiphany hit.

A 3-D image complete with a life history popped into my head as if it had been dropped from outer-space by an alien. Maybe they are out there throwing down images all the time, mind-melding with us humans, maybe spreading propaganda too … (Yes, I was a Sci-Fi fan way back, even going to conventions!) Most people say it is our subconscious at work, but I think aliens sound better.

But, by whatever means the images and feelings came to me, my protagonist had a sudden life-altering experience. Not a sex change or a lottery windfall, rather a new role in the policing world of forensics and solving murders. (TBA in my first bestselling book!)

So today I’m a happy writer again, and my advice is to go out there and work on a project that has been bugging you and needs to be done, one that doesn’t take Einstein-like concentration, and one that you can let your mind wander around with no place to ‘have to be’.

Then simply enjoy the moment and let the aliens help!

Happy writing.

5 thoughts on “Writer’s epiphany, where does it come from?

  1. What a great epiphany — whatever planet it may have come from! I can truly see what a comfortable fit forensics will be for your protagonist, and for you as the researcher/author. Good luck pivoting to this promising new direction!

    • Finally my protagonist feels right. Maybe I should have listened to her sooner. Looks like we both want to be in control, but our protagonists are the ones in the driver’s seat! I have the map, but ‘she’ has the steering wheel.

  2. I love these epiphanies. I’m not a fiction writer, but for my travel writing, and for life in general they come just as you described – when we’ve gotten out of the way and there’s plenty of room for the aliens to download them 🙂

  3. It’s how my wife defines creativity. She says it’s like having a picnic in the park on a beautiful day, and some bird flies by and poops on your head. There it is, what are you going to do with it?

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