Friday, November 14, 2014

I don’t know if this happens to you, but it did to me. When wearing the “writer” hat, rarely is it an endeavor where I just plop down and start to spewing. Usually, it’s a flash and a “Wouldn’t it be funny…” Or a “What would happen if…”

In that moment, Christ it’s like an explosion and a scene comes alive and a character—or two—or several are born. Long before the actual writing begins, there are hours upon hours spent, figuring out the “who” of the people walking through the corridors of my mind. As authors, we visit with our guests, asking question after question like jacked up journalists. People around us react to our flights of fancy as if we’re either rude or half-crazy as we stop in mid-sentence when an idea knifes our concentration.

It takes the patience of a saint to be a spouse to a writer. Forever, there’s someone calling our attention and in a snap, we’re gone. Everyone has a method to their madness; I’m sure you have yours. I have mine.

The process of layering the character can begin with envisioning what’s in their wallet to what’s in the refrigerator. For a guy like Brett Gold (Girls’ Night Out and Catch You For Christmas) it’s all about eating for speed and strength. If it’s edible and it’s loaded with protein, it’s probably inside his icebox. Milk, eggs, a couple of different types of protein powder, chicken, fish, steaks, turkey, and ice. Lots and lots of ice. To go with the bottle of Scotch that’s on the counter. Oh yeah, dude like to drink.

 What else? Birthday and birth order. Super important for someone like Cory McLemore. Youngest in a lineup of FIVE BROTHERS. She’s a twin which makes her position even more vital and precarious. But out of being raised in a semi-sheltered small town, and in the midst of a slew of rowdy guys, that puts her as spunky, resourceful, and able to stand her ground around guys…like Brett Gold.

And of course, the physical attributes are just as important. I mean we’ve got to be able to pick our characters out of a lineup. And maybe, that’s where they actually end up!

Slowly, the person, our hero and/or heroine becomes a living and functional being, capable of doing things. And it’s those “things” that make up a story.

With each conflict, the characters will rise like ether or plummet—unless of course they can fly. But you get the idea. We pack in the skill sets along with frailties—no one likes a character who’s too good...too perfect. Same with a villain or a secondary character—a spark of something charismatic and that’s the making of an unforgettable voice and gives a shine to others around. Witty begets witty. If your character isn’t a standup comedian, I guarantee if you introduce a friend or enemy who is, watch how your character suddenly changes in order to relate.

So then what happens when with all the imaginings of characters, scenes, setting, internal and external arcs, plot points and acts, the story that screams loudest isn’t a novel. But a novella.

Well, that’s a dammit times ten…or is it?

Unless someone is contracted to deliver ‘X’ amount of words, which equates to structure and boundaries (and I have been there), code words for get serious, Houston we've got a problem, and it's time to rethink the plotting. But when writing is done just because we want to, then hallelujah!

So WTF if the story is in freefall. Sit back and enjoy the ride! And that’s a great place to be when writing for the sheer pleasure of the experience.

During events like NaNoWriMo it’s both serious and not. There’s no contract but there are expectations. A community rooting on each person who wants to partake in the online sites.

And that’s where I’m coming from.

After writing hard and fast in NaNoWriMo 2012 and 2013, turning out Tempted by Trouble and Girls’ Night Out, this year I wanted to take a break from adult romance and write my YA novel, the one I plotted and have ready to go…except it didn’t.

I wrote 5K and I kept hearing another set of voices. The more I tried to quell them, the louder they spoke until it was just easier to give in and see what came to fruition. Five days of intense writing and the story was done. Catch You For Christmas.

Writing about Brett and Cory during the Christmas holidays was a break when my brain wanted to do something fun in between intense writing. Spend the weekend in Paris. And I did. Sometimes, you can’t fight what seeks to be born.

So am I successful in terms of winning the 2014 NaNo challenge. I don’t know. I’ve got 15 more days. Anything is possible. Right?

Thanks for tuning in.

Catch You For Christmas is out on Amazon. A holiday romance. I NaNo. Do you?
Amazon Link:
Take care and keep writing. Whether it’s NaNo or your heart pouring out it’s longing to be heard. Write. Write. Think. And write some more!

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