Mary Campisi
Mary Campisi
Mary Campisi

Writing on the Fly

Writing on the Fly 3My husband and I flew to California a few years ago for my niece’s wedding. The first part of the trip took us from Ohio to Denver, and I told my husband I was not getting off the plane until I had one or two blog posts written and maybe even a character sketch for the next A Family Affair book. (This would have been A Family Affair: The Secret.)

All I needed was my 19 cent spiral notebook, a pen, and a plane that didn’t encounter too much turbulence. I had no idea what I wanted to write about until I started writing. What emerged were a few tidbits about my writing process.

I plot out the basics of a story in my head, turn it around for days, maybe even weeks. When I think I’ve got it figured out, I grab a spiral notebook and start writing character sketches, then plot, and subplot. I have over a dozen half-filled notebooks containing stories. There’s the story I’ve planned to write and the one I actually write. They’re never the same. Readers might be surprised to hear this, but it’s true. Often, I have no idea how a particular situation is going to work out, until I’m in the story, traveling down that path…Then, I know.

I like to write with quiet surrounding me, but that’s more a wish than reality, especially with a dog in the house who insists on barking a play-by-play of what’s happening outside; squirrels in tree, joggers running by, the UPS man shifting gears…

When I’m creating plots, character sketches, blog posts, Gloria’s notebook entries, Charles’s letters, or other indirect story content, I handwrite them in a spiral notebook. The creativity flows, but I always struggle to read my penmanship. I encountered this same issue when we were on the plane and ran into turbulence. I closed my eyes and continued writing. I would like to say the almost illegible penmanship had to do with a bumpy plane ride, but it didn’t look much different than what I create at my kitchen table… Still, I was able to decipher it and while my almost ninety-one-year-old mother would say good penmanship is essential, I will settle for good content.

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