Steering the narrative

I thought I would be further along writing the third book by now, but summer is so tough. It was tough last year, too, when I was working on To Hold and made the decision I would worry about it once the girls were in school for the year.

That worked then. I’m fearful it’s not going to work now, primarily because even though the Bigs will be in school for the entire day I’ll still have a little at home. I’ve been trying to work mostly at night again just so I can make some headway since I don’t know how the baby’s schedule is going to play into our days at home yet. This is one of the most difficult parts of being a stay at home/work at home parent, and while I’d love to whine and cry about how unproductive I’ve been, I won’t. I’ll just figure out how to fit it all in. Again.

Regardless of that, I’m 16,500-ish words into Tommy’s story.

Some of you won’t like what I do to him.

Some of you will love what I do to him.

My mother was afraid I was going to turn him into a gigolo. Rest assured, that’s not happening. Much.

What is happening, though, is he’s writing his own story … just like Steph and Max did a year ago. I have to let it happen that way. When I attempt to plan out an entire story, or even just a few chapters – highlighting in my notes the plot for each chapter so as to steer the narrative in a certain direction – I get off course and find myself trying to force the story back to where I *thought* it should go. Swimming against the current is only going to exhaust the swimmer. It was starting to go that way for Tommy after I introduced a new character. I literally cried because of the amount of frustration I was having over where I initially wanted to story to go and where it was headed. A conversation with my mom several weeks ago has kept me from a major rewrite of the first third of the book despite having made a file for an alternate version.

I’d be lying if I said I don’t think about deleting the entire file (both files, really) and starting over. It would be an even more extravagant lie if I said I didn’t think about forcing the story the way I think readers will think it’s supposed to go. The entire mental back and forth I’ve had over rewriting/deleting/keep going is half the reason I’m so behind. I tried so hard to swim against the current.

I don’t do trigger warnings because life doesn’t come with trigger warnings. The truth of the matter is life has plot twists and it isn’t predictable. Life is full of crazy shit, like ex-husbands coming back begging for forgiveness at the most obscure times and former lovers keeping secrets to shield you from pain and perfectly sensible women taking off when faced with the perfect man, so even if it upsets some readers I’m going to follow the story where it leads.

I want to learn how to write without apologizing for my writing. Maybe when I figure out how to do that, it won’t take an entire calendar year to publish one book.

 

One thought on “Steering the narrative

  1. *HUGS*
    I always tell all my authors (hehe, I’m very possessive, “my” authors…LOL) – follow the characters. Some writers do their best work all plotted out & the story comes to them in one big ball. They know exactly the path their characters will be taking, because that’s how the story comes to their brain. It sounds like your characters like to mess w/ you a bit, giving you a glimpse here & a glimpse there, and you THINK you know where they’re going & then they laugh & say “just kidding! I’m doing this!”
    Follow your characters & let your fingers fly! And tell your little the story as you write. That’ll keep her entertained (I know, she’s a LITTLE little. Still, I’m sure she likes your voice!). 😀

    Like

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