I’m going to ask myself the question I think some of you may have thought about.
Shelley, I see you’re giving rules and things you pay attention to while writing, but what I want to know is what are your snags? How do you deal with writer’s block? How do you continue to be inspired to keep going with the story you’re writing?
Well, well, well. Let’s hit it! The answer is I am a writer.
I can write ALL day. I can go without food for hours, without drinking anything for hours, not answer the phone for hours, not care if I don’t see another person for hours. But writing, I cannot go without doing for hours unless I truly have to.
All writers are different. Many writers are introverts. When I go in my office and write, my family, friends and loved ones think I’m in there alone. But I’m not. I can have up to a dozen characters inside my office with me, and trust me when I say they keep me entertained.
Let’s break down and answer the question, though. What snags do I have while writing?
The first thing that comes to my mind are the moments when I want my story to go in one direction, but that direction will take me off course of my plot. Or here’s another problem I can mention. I notice that while I’m writing, I listen to the voices and I see each scene unfold. Usually at the END of a chapter, I tend to get off course. In example, the other day I was writing about Edouard and I had a good idea, at least I thought it was a good idea. I wanted the girl he’s intending to marry to kidnap him out of the brothel and keep him somewhere else against his will. For some reason, I just love that idea, so I wrote about it. Pages! But the more I write about this abduction, a voice in the back of my mind keeps telling me that taking this route will take me off course of the plot.
What I usually do when this happens is keep writing the idea I had, but I save that document as a second file of the manuscript. The reason I do this is because I’m a pantser. When I write a book, I have no idea where the storyline will take me. I leave it up to the voices to guide me along. The more I write, the more I know truly what my story is about. And don’t forget what I wrote in a previous thread. I write the story in layers. The first time I write a chapter, it’s only the bones of that chapter. Whenever I go back, I add more to the chapter to give it life. It’s usually after I’m several chapters in when I can decide which course I should take to keep my story in line with the plot.
Taking Edouard out of the equation (in regards to his daily family life) conflicts with things happening inside the mansion. This is my main hang up with this idea. But that’s one of the fun things about writing. I can make it work either way. What I must focus on are the things happening with Jenna. If I can write about Jenna without Edouard having to be nearby, then everything is honky dory. BUT, what I’ve been writing about Jenna, Edouard needs to be near, because if he’s near the readers can better understand the relationship between mother and son.
Now, let’s talk about writer’s block. Honestly, I don’t suffer from it that much, only because I usually have more than one manuscript I’m working on. But here’s something I noticed. I’m sitting there writing, my fingers are tap, tap, tapping. I stop only because I need another cup of coffee or something that needs to be done takes me away from the laptop for a few minutes. After I get coffee and return to my work, just that quickly my thoughts have swayed and I find myself changing the last paragraph(s) and pick up with a slight change.
If I can break that down for you a little more, I can explain it like this. When I’m on a roll, my writing tends to get darker and darker. Bad things are flying to my character like magnets. Too many bad things happening at the same time makes the story convoluted, but I’m not noticing this because I’m on a roll and my fingers are trying to keep up with my brain, the voices I hear and the scenes I see unfolding. It’s not until I walk away and return that I sit down and ‘take it easy’ on the plot. By eliminating some of the bad things happening, readers will be able to focus on the things they should and not become confused.
I saw a picture once that made me laugh so hard. I wish I would have saved it, because it describes what I’m talking about so well. In the picture, on its left side was a train yard with perfectly straight tracks. This image was captioned…"When a man plots a book." On the right was a train yard with about fifteen tracks that curved, crossed over each other, went backward, forward. Looking at it, you couldn’t tell which direction the tracks went or where they would end up. It was captioned, "When a woman plots a book."
That picture describes me so well. I have to write and write and write to understand the story I’m writing about. The more I write, the more the pieces fall into place for me. A lot of the time, my characters are in check in regards to their personality and desire, but what happens from point A to Z gets twisted up. It is my practice to keep going, because at this stage in the game for me, I’m experienced enough to know when my plot has become crooked. The truth is, some things about writing can’t be learned and will only come the more you write AND read. Reading good books can actually show a reader how it’s done.
Now, let’s discuss my inspiration. What inspires me are the characters I’m writing about. A main character in a book, true, he has a desire, something he wishes to accomplish in the book. What a main character also does is give readers a message. I am a teacher. Teaching fiction is what I do. My characters are teachers, teaching readers how that particular character dealt with a harsh life lesson while entertaining the reader at the same time. The lesson is an unsolved equation. While writing, I’m motivated to solve the equation, because before the readers can care about my characters, I care about my characters. Do I want Edouard to kill a woman? Personally, no, I don’t, so as I’m writing, I’m constantly trying to figure out a way to stop him from doing that. And this is where the fun comes in.
I’m trying to get him out of trouble. The voices in my head are sinking him further into trouble. Which side is going to win? The truth is, I already know, because the voices can’t keep their mouths shut and because I know what will make the readers gasp and whisper aloud, Oh my, God!
A twist in the plot makes me excited. I mean, really excited. When I write a story, I want readers to laugh, get sad, get scared, get anxious, and if there’s a twist in the plot, say ‘I did not see that coming!’ When I’m writing, I’m creating a fictional world. I want people to like that world when I’m done, so I’m constantly making changes and adding things here or there. I got so lost in what I’m doing that someone can actually walk into my office and ask me a question and I won’t hear them, although subconsciously I know someone is there. Be creative inspires me. Creating characters that a reader can enjoy gets my adrenaline pumping. Because I love what I do, when I face a problem I don’t get discouraged. I solve the problem and keep going. You don’t have to be like me to be a good writer, because everyone is different.
Don’t wait until you have all the answers. Start writing today if you haven’t already started. If you’ve started but hit a dead end, go back to the part of the book that stirs your emotion, then start writing again. I can’t explain the feeling I have when I finish a book. I just wrote a novella. I can’t wait to get it in readers’ hands. The good thing is I will be offering this novella for free to a lot of people. Here is the cover. Knowing I created this gives me such a feeling of accomplishment. That inspires me to keep writing, because I love bringing readers inside my fictional worlds.
***I didn't edit the last two posts, so please disregard any typing errors.***