The Genesis of People of the Ethereal Realm
There are a variety of ways to begin writing a book, but from where I stand there are basically two viable methods. Some writers plot their novels meticulously with flash cards, notes, character backgrounds and whatnot. We’ll call them Plotters. Then there are writers who sit down with an idea and a few characters. With a vague sense of where they want to go and what kind of tale they want to tell, they sit down before their computer and type, weaving a story by the seat of their pants. I don’t know what we’ll call them, but I am a member, and as much as I’ve tried plotting my stories, I can’t. Maybe some day.
People of the Ethereal Realm began one day while I was lying on the couch in that phantasmagoric moment just as sleep washes over, a moment when, in the company of others, I may mumble nonsensical words. I felt a presence, and I attempted to remain in that thin stream of consciousness. The presence was female, though I am reluctant to even entertain the idea that she was spiritual. Probably just one of the random thoughts caught in the filter of my mind, a distortion of a memory. I abruptly leapt off the couch and wondered about jealousy. Could someone become jealous of an apparition, ghost, spirit, something from beyond, something that couldn’t be seen by others?
When I began writing People of the Ethereal Realm I had three characters, the beginnings of a plot, and a scene that would set the stage for what the book would become, but I had no idea where it would go or how things would turn out for Adam, my protagonist. I knew he was in for a world of change, a struggle worse than his dissolving marriage, but I couldn’t, at that time, even speculate at where he would end up and what he would have to go through to get there.
I began writing toward the scene that burned in my mind, a scene I felt would direct my muse and shape the path of the story hidden beneath the water. I just had to dip my psyche into the frigid current, witness the whole of the story, the iceberg, and lay it down on paper (well, a computer document).
But there was a problem. I developed Adam and his wife Justine and their crumbling life together. Adam began having visitations in the night, perhaps a product of his desperation or maybe sexual frustration, and then I wrote that brilliant scene that I had been working toward, and it turned out just as I had intended. I thought getting to that point would fuel my muse but I was mistaken. I sat there in front of my computer and I was lost.
For whatever reason, I found myself staring into the fuzz on my television and then looking at a blank wall. Asinine and childish, I know, but the afterimage was glorious to behold: a bold green rectangle wherever I looked, even when I closed my eyes, glowing and growing perpetually yet remaining the same until it finally faded away. I tempted myself with the television again, wondering if I could be potentially damaging my retinas.
One more time wouldn’t hurt, right?
The second time I could swear I saw someone. Jesus Christ on Tuesday I saw someone! Continued seeing them because that damn afterimage, the green one that a moment ago seemed quite interesting, wouldn’t fucking go away. And damn-it there was someone in there.
The idea for a short story about a man who sees things in afterimages had been developed and the more I thought about it and prepared myself to write it (I suppose I did some plotting in my mind), I realized that Gerald, the probable protagonist for this new story, would fit right in with my novel-in-progress. By weaving Gerald into the developing plot, the pieces fell into place. I wrote the rest of the book by the seat of my pants, but really it wrote itself.
And that’s the way I like it.
Adam and Gerald, two men from different sides of the tracks, took me on quite a ride. I had no idea where we were going, but we went there together, and I am quite pleased with how it all turned out.
I would like to thank Craig Saunders for allowing me the use of his blog. Thanks a bunch, man! Part two of the Genesis of People of the Ethereal Realm, where I discuss the process of getting the book published in the small press, is featured on Kenneth Cain’s blog. Don’t miss it!
Follow Robert's journey over on Kenneth Cain's blog, and don't forget to take a look at Robert's blog while you're at it :D
The Genesis of People of the Ethereal Realm, Part Two (Live from Tuesday 17th September)
That's what he looks like!
That's it, take over done. One last note from me -
Love you! x