Being a Writer is very different from the practice of Writing. Being a Writer whether it’s being a journalist, memoirist, non-fiction writer, fiction writer or anything else requires two things: planning and writing. A writer that is on task is either doing one or the other and never at the same time.
Planning is a pretty broad term, but everyone does it differently. For, me it really involves one question that I answer over and over again until I’m ready to write. I take a yellow steno pad and at the top I write, “What do I need to clarify before I can move forward with this project?” List everything that comes to mind. Then I go down the list and systematically answer each ones.
When I’m finished with each one I toss away the original list and Write the question over again and generate another set of questions to answer. However long this takes really depends on what I’m writing. A 12 inch story probably takes a single sheet and maybe 10 minutes. Goddess Inc. took about a month and 80 pages of notes before I felt comfortable enough to actually write any prose.
The part I throw most of my psychic energy is in my characters. My primary concerns for this novel was how they fit into the world and rules I’ve laid out and their motivation regarding the expectations I’ve set for the people reading this.
The product I’ve come up with below. The idea is to introduce all my characters through one connecting event. I’ll spend the next few posts going over each of them.
Part I- Arvyn H. Singher
“The loneliest place is always at the top.”
– Arvyn H. Singher, Singher University commencement ceremony
To the class of 1975
Arvyn H. Singher stood atop the world of his own creation. Inside his office at atop a tower of steel and concrete in the middle of Central California. It was on the very plot of land his family bought and turned into a farm. They sold apples, then grapes, then strawberries until a city popped up in the middle of nowhere between San Francisco and metropolitan Los Angeles to the south. It grew so large that professional sports came to town along with movie studios and all the trappings that a big city found quite nice to settle into.
He looked out over this world and sighed as if the whole world was suddenly so heavy on his shoulders. “How did it happen?” Arvyn leaned on his dark oak desk, both hands on the top, craning his neck down towards the phone.
“Alton was shot dead in the street. He was out visiting the old neighborhoods in New York City.”
“And the spirits contracted to him were they…”
“Transferred over to Rashard. They were together when it happened. There was a Bridge near the hospital to ratify the deal then he flat lined five minutes later.”
“Who handled the contract?”
“Koch did it. The Shadows belong to Rashard now.”
Arvyn stood up and rubbed his chin, trying to process the news. He’d known Josef DeBerg a long time and like a true lawyer he had an answer ready.
“The Spirits survived, but none of us were prepared for such a quick transition.”
“I felt it Josef. I’m sure Colton and Marta felt it too.”
“Indeed, I’ll be over with the language for a new contract. From my understanding the existing terms are in place for month. Given how quickly it was drawn up, there are bound to be loopholes.”
Arvyn waved his hand, his brow creasing slightly. “Let’s take care of the funeral first then we’ll deal with this business. Alton was a friend Josef.”
“And Rashard definitely isn’t,” Josef said, always quick to end the conversation with the last word. “But I understand Arvyn. Celia is drafting a statement right now. It’ll be in your inbox for review within the hour. The story is just hitting the 24-hour news cycle right now. Somebody is bound to ask you for a statement so be ready.”
The line went dead then Arvyn ran a hand through his short, white and curly hair. “Lucia!” He called out, his voice ringing out in his enormous office, complete with a black leather couch and large flat screen television posted up on the far side of the room.
She appeared like dream, phasing into this world as if a frame skipped in the very reel of existence. Lucia dressed in an emerald green dress with deep red hair and skin white as an angels feather. Her eyes were an earthy brown, deep as freshly tilled soil and a sad smile on her face.
Arvyn looked away, feeling ashamed at being so harsh with the goddess. She was the perfect woman he dreamed up from the City he helped build. Yggsdrasil was for those spirits abandoned to death when the dream worlds that spawned them were crushed by death.
Lucia was one of the heftiest contracts he purchased from the Realm of Truth upon which his city was built. It was from his first and only wife, before she turned her dreams away from him when he simply couldn’t pay the cost to keep their worlds together. It cost him $750 million dollars and the entire north side of Singher Valley. He later quipped to his accountant that he also lost a wife and two kids in the divorce.
“Alton is dead and the Executive Board will be meeting soon to discuss the matter. Will a week be enough to prepare Yggsdrasil for our arrival?”
“It’ll be enough time,” Lucia said, her voice gentle. “Do you need me to pick a suit for you? Perhaps a bottle of wine?”
“Yes, I have to go on television in a few minutes; make sure it looks remorseful. Celia would be awfully pissed if my attire did not match the message,” He paused a moment. “Also, a bottle of whiskey from our private stock would be best.”
Lucia bowed her head and disappeared.
Arvyn walked across the lush green carpet and around the apple tree that grew under the skylight above. It was the only other window aside from the one behind his desk that overlooked the city. The patch of sunlight cast a pale light on a tree only visible to those who could afford to see it. He touched the leaves as he passed and sat down on the leather coach.
He grabbed the remote control, pressed the power button then leaned back as the screen buzzed to life. Arvyhn stretched both hands and crossed his right leg over the left. The pant leg lifted like a curtain revealing thin black socks and polished Bruno Mali shoes.
The talking head appeared on the screen in mid sentence, “…The markets mourned today as stocks for Miller Group sagged after news broke that media mogul and multi-billionaire Alton Miller was shot dead today.”