Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Out Of Time

Ten days ago, I had a rather interesting thing happen to me. On that day I went to the library and wrote the final pages of my current novel.

I was so engrossed in the scenes, the characters, and the setting, I was living each one. When I explained this to my daughter, she said, "Isn't it cool to get so involved in a book you're practically breathing it?"

That's exactly how I felt. Like I was breathing the same air as these characters. I smelled the smoke and gunpowder. I crawled across the rocks and dodged incoming fire. Tears wet my cheeks at reunions made sweeter through the sacrifice it took to make them come about. I breathed those scenes.

I think this might be what folks mean when they speak of writing the book of your heart. I got to combine several of my passions: History, research, and writing. I wrote something I wanted to write, not because I thought it would fit a particular publishing house or market, but simply because I was interested in the era, the events, and the people who did such amazing things under unbelievable circumstances.

The funny thing was, 20 minutes after I typed "THE END", Heather and I found ourselves being seated for supper at the closest Applebee's restaurant. I felt like I'd jumped through a wormhole. It was something out of time. The television, the clothing, the food, the music...it was all foreign to me. I'd immersed myself so much in 1862 Frontier Minnesota, that it was strange to jump back into the 21st century. Forget that I'd been typing on a space-age laptop, drove my car to and from the library and wanted a Diet Coke more than just about anything at that moment. (No food or drink in the library, and a seven hour 'Diet Coke Drought' is about all I can stand without getting the DT's.) It was still a jolt to experience the restaurant after living with my characters.

Has this ever happened to anyone else, or am I the only nutcase?


  1. I think when the author can so identify with the characters, it comes through for the reader. Some authors seem to stand at such a distance and tell what's going on. I think the best stories are the ones where the author is one with the characters. Btw, You're the only nutcase (-; LOL

  2. Stephanie9:03 AM

    Erica, that's so exciting! Now I really can't wait to read the rest!

  3. SEVEN HOURS WITHOUT DIET COKE? ARE YOU JOKING?! I couldn't do it--that's what you really call sacrificing for your art. I'm not that dedicated.

    Yes, there are times when I'm totally engrossed with my story, in fact last night my character (Coleman) was in my dream. I was dreaming my book. Haven't had the time warp thing though because I write present day. So, as CJ said, you ARE the only nutcase :-)

  4. You know, I always suspected it. At least it's a nice view from the top of the nut-tree. LOL

  5. Actually, I think we came from the same tree---LOL! I've always felt a little like a nut too. And as for CJ, methinks she doth protest too much.

    It's fun when you get involved in your character and time zone like that. Although---I'm not sure it's ever happened to me in quite that way...maybe I'm not a nut after all.