Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sandcastles in the Sand....and on the Page

I got some more writing done this weekend (Woo!) and I realized that my writing style has a lot of similarities to the building of sandcastles.

If you were like me as a kid, you spent considerable time constructing your sandcastle. All morning, sometimes. Painstaking attention would be paid to every detail. The height of the turrents. The number of windows. The placement of the drawbridge. And, of course, the depth of the moat. Not to mention the creatures who would be tapped to infest this particular watery defense. Alligators were always a favorite. But what about piranhas? Or sea serpents?

A lot of thought had to go into this.

The people of this kingdom were happy. They felt secure inside those walls, even if someone of them knew that dark dangers lurked just outside.

Life was good.

I would put the finishing touch on the last wall and feel an overwhelming sense of satisfaction.

Followed almost immediately by an all encompassing need to destroy.

So, I would trade rolls, happily shifting from creator to destroyer. I was the evil giant, the sorcerer’s army, the witch’s cyclone. No matter what evil form I took, there was one thing that was for sure: that castle didn’t stand a chance.

But seeing as I’ve never been able to shake my belief that good wins out in the end, I would never completely destroy my creation. Maybe I would leave one crumbling tower, or a rickety drawbridge. Maybe the castle was taken down, but the moat was left untouched, allowing the truly courageous to brave the beasts it held in an attempt to get away from the falling bricks and mortar.

Let’s face it. I was no Dread Pirate Roberts. There were always some survivors.

And they always took me done in a stunning display of heroics. Needless to say, my ocean side death scenes were nothing short of inspired. More than once I think I threw in the Wicked Witch’s “What a world! What a world!”

The people were once again victorious, but rather than bask in that triumph, they immediately started to rebuild. Because that’s the way things worked. They got knocked down. You dealt with the knocker-downer. And then you worked to put them back up.

Just this weekend, I realized that I write the same way. The characters are never as safe and secure behind their walls as my castle people were, but they’re doing all right. And I work hard to build their world up, providing them with the breaks needed to make their lives better. But just when they think they’ve got it all figured out, I trample in there like the unruly giant of my youth. I start crushing everything I can find and those poor souls scramble to take me down.

Now, I haven’t gotten to the end of this story yet, so I can’t say anything about their success or failure for sure.

But, in keeping with tradition, my money’s on them.

And for all you folks not particularly interested in writing or the construction/destruction of sandcastles, I offer you this, in the hope that it will make today’s blog visit worthwhile:

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