My Secret Journal

When I first starting writing, I had one goal in mind:  I wanted to write a book.  A book. The book.  I spent a long time trying to figure out what that book was, pouring years worth of ideas and pieces of me into that one manuscript.  But now that I've written several books I realize that I have more then one story to tell, and more shockingly, more than one way of viewing the world.

My books are not about me, but my stories and characters often tell me what my subconscious is thinking about.  I actually can't think of a better method of self exploration than to create stories, because what ends up on the page is often something I didn't even realize I believed until it showed up. Every once in a while, a line will appear in a manuscript that catches me off guard, something that I can't remember ever consciously thinking about, but something that resonates with me as something I believe wholeheartedly.

Yet another cruel irony in my twisted life.  My weakness is not the killer inside me at all.  It's the girl.- Silver.

 Sometimes these ideas become themes in a story, but more often than not, they're just lines of interior monologue that not only help me to understand and connect with my main character on an emotional level, but that help me to understand a bit about myself.

I cling to the memories while I still have them.  I know too well how good-bye can steal more than just the future.   -Spies and Prejudice  

I've never kept a journal, but for me writing novels is akin to keeping a secret journal- there's a bit of wish fulfillment, a dash of venting, and a liberal dose of angst in everything I write.  Every now and then, something comes out that causes me to step back and take stock of what's important to me. Of course, my "secret" journal is very public, since anyone can read one of my books once they're published.  Still, the key is well hidden, and no one but me knows which parts of the story I personally identify with versus which belong to the characters alone.

The themes I end up writing about are rarely the ones I think I'm writing about when I begin a project.  I thought my current manuscript was going to be about faith, with criticism of both blind faith and lack of faith.  I liked that theme.  It should've fit well with my plot and characters, but my characters had other ideas.  By the time the first draft was completed, I had a story about finding the will to live and self forgiveness.  And while I don't consider myself depressed or someone who dwells on the past, there were questions and answers posed that forced me to question what I did believe made life worth living.  This led to the realization that a big theme in Gold is what it means to live, and more importantly, how death can give life meaning.

Death is what makes life matter.  Perhaps life can only be appreciated because it ends. - Gold

Have I been contemplating the meaning of life?  Whoa.  And, while I don't profess to have "the" answer, I've come to some conclusions about what life (and death) mean to me that I don't think I would have ever come to without my stories.

Is it possible that the answer is so simple? That miracles are about life and nothing else? Or is it that life's the miracle, and we just need to be reminded of it every once in a while? - untitled manuscript

As my characters face life and death situations, love, betrayal, heartache, happiness, or anything in between, I'm forced to confront their feelings, and in turn, my own.  Do I agree with this character's view of the world?  Sometimes yes, and sometimes no, but I love that I learn new things about myself in the process.  


What a cool way to approach your books! A new glimpse of the "inner Talia." It's also got me thinking about the "secret diary" aspect of my own - something I'd not thought about before.

AH yes. Our characters questions and dilemmas make us figure out our own. Thanks for the post.

Beth, yes, I didn't realize it at first either. It was only as certain themes started popping up again and again that I realized I had stong ideas about them.

Carol, so true! Writing fiction is its own brand of therapy.

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