Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Beginning the Journey

Dana Mansfield

My first novel (Sunset Park, Martin Sisters Publishing) began as an image of a woman in glum contemplation as she sat on a rooftop watching the sun go down. That’s all I really had but it was enough for me to ask the following questions and then answer them. Who is this woman? What is her story? Why is she glum? In answering those questions, Sunset Park was born.

In contemplating my writing method, I realized that what sparks each story I have written are questions. They may come from an image – such as with Sunset Park – or it might just be a question that pops into my head randomly or in reference to a news headline. Sometimes those questions come and go but when they stick, then that is the spark that starts me on a story journey. If given the opportunity, would you do your life over? That led to my “Caveat” short story. What do women see in geriatric/rude/womanizing/name-your-vice celebrities? Is it just the money and possible shot at fame? These last two questions led me to the Deceptions book trilogy I’m working on now.
With the question comes problem solving, something I love to do as a writer. The problem solving begins as I put the pieces together as I figure out the who’s, the why’s, the where’s and all that. It continues as I work myself out of a corner I’ve written myself into. The exit solution must keep the integrity of the overall story that I am trying to tell. The answer to the original question – the finished piece – may only resemble that question slightly in the end, as with Deceptions, but that is okay. The question served its purpose and I have enjoyed myself on the journey to answer that original question.

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