Harnessing a Tornado

Last Saturday, I joyfully went to my local Kinkos (which wasn’t actually that local) and had them print out my first draft, all the while hoping they wouldn’t stop to read it and find some serious smut. Still, a few minutes after they got my file, I was holding 170 pages of fresh printed, warm papered story. 

Of course, I didn’t think ahead to things like a binder or a three hole punch. This means I am very carefully splitting the story into two as I go through it, and praying that my three year old will not get into them (which is a high hope, because my three year old is an adorable tornado of destruction).

I’ve improvised a crazy system involving sticky notes, colored index cards, regular index cards, and multiple kinds of pens. I’m reasonably sure there is probably a more streamlined way of doing this, but it probably wouldn’t be *me*. 

I’m a little tornado myself. In many ways, a lovely, chaotic, story telling tornado. With a destroyed house I am ignoring in favor of writing this book. Oh well. Sacrifices must be made, right? 

I referred in an earlier post to my character and plot development system and said I’d be talking about it in the future, and so I thought I’d begin here. 

I wrote my first novel participating in NaNo in 2007. I had no story idea. It was November 5th I believe, so I was already behind. I was working a soul sucking, mind numbing job with truly mean people. Except for one girl, who like me, dreaded each day of work. Unlike myself, she *had* a story idea that she’d always wanted to write, but never thought she could because she wasn’t a huge reader. 

I sent her a link to the NaNo website and encouraged her to be my writing buddy. As a nice side effect, it distracted us for a bit from the horror of our jobs. 

I went into NaNo with no plan, with no idea how to write a book, how to structure it, how to develop characters. So I just made things up. I started with a moment and thought to myself, “What happens after this?” I allowed the story and characters to fall into place like dominoes. After a while, my characters started doing things I didn’t expect, and some that I’d created for background moments started to step forward to carry parts of the plot. I told myself that this is what happens when you write at a breakneck speed. Next time I write a book, I told myself, I’ll plan it out, I’ll know the characters completely, I’ll work to flesh out a completely developed plot. 

Oh god, if only I could. 

The truth is that I am a chaotic writer. I write like a flash flood, fast and hard and messy as hell. I write *through* a story, and in doing, am slowly learning to accept that I have to let the characters talk to me. That I have to allow myself to let go of plans and to trust my intuition, because, as it turns out, I am a highly intuitive writer.  Although It is often hard to trust that I’m going to get *there*, that amorphous ending point (which, after writing that first mess of a novel, I started to do — that is have an idea of how it ends, at least), it’s just how I write. And I must be doing something right: I hope that that little Interlude Press logo confirms that, if only to myself. 

For the moment’ I’ll have to leave you with that. Stay tuned for more conversation regarding character development, small hints of what is happening and who they are and how I am attempting to harness the tornado of this whole experience. I must be off though, because my kids have decided to open my storage totes to make caves for themselves. I should create a superhero persona for myself: Mommy Writer, with the power to write romance and smut, but also corral active little boys who are stuck indoors due to rain. 

I am off to find a cape then. While I do so, I’ll encourage you all to attend Interlude’s 24 Launch Party. I’ll be speaking about writing original fiction with other 2015 authors. There will be sweet giveaways. And if you want, you can register here for chances to win a free copy of my ebook when it is published! 

 

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