I love Post-It notes and making plans.
I’m horrible at follow through when it comes to my writing plans, though.
The first book was started because I was working on something and a single line popped into my head. I built from that, turned it into a line in a flashback scene, and the rest of the book took on a life of its own because my writing is basically stream-of-consciousness. At least that’s what I decided it is because otherwise it’s just a giant clusterfuck.
This is really where my lack of follow through comes into play. I tried to do the chapter planning for Book Two. I have notes all over the place – legal pads, random pieces of paper shoved in my planner, electronic notes, notes typed in my manuscript – but as much as I want to follow a formula, what I say is going to happen in Chapter Nine might never happen or will happen a few chapters later and be a completely different scenario.
It’s not that I can’t follow directions. I’m actually really good at following directions (maybe my kids should take note of this awesome ability I have). When I’m writing creatively, though, it’s a different story because words and chapters and characters are so fluid. Every time I sit down to write I go through the same process. First I read the last few paragraphs I wrote, then stare at the computer, wonder what the hell I was going to say next, take a deep breath, and let the first thing that comes mind be the first new thing I write. That “first new thing” usually gets edited to death and changed half a dozen times before I’m happy, but it’s a jumping off point for the rest of the story to flow until it’s all out.
My last post essentially complained about how nothing was getting written because it just wasn’t coming out. The weekend was a different story. Yesterday alone I wrote more than half of my weekly word goal because everything was clicking.
Book two, Stephanie’s story, is killing me though, and it’s not even her causing those feelings. It’s the boy. I can’t have him be perfect. He’s not meant to be perfect. In all actuality, when I introduced him in the first book, I made him broken because some of the best characters are, and it’s made a lot of people question what I’m doing with him because they just don’t know him well enough. There’s more tragedy in his life than I ever considered would be the case when I introduced him. I’m working on a section now that has taken him “home” and we’re introduced to his mom, we’re introduced to a difficult relationship between the two because there was too much hurt and he closed himself off from the one person left in his life he could always rely on. And she has tragedy and secrets, too, that he’s going to learn about.
But the words stopped flowing right when he was supposed to find out about his parent’s past, so instead of forcing the words to come and end up deleting them today or tomorrow, I left him standing there in the garage reading a letter his dad wrote while serving in the military. The “open in the event I don’t make it home letter.” His dad made it home, so it’s the first time the envelop has been opened since the letter was sealed inside.
I know this part is going to hurt to write, but sometimes the best things in life are painful. Sometimes … they’re worth it.