Five Challenges I Faced in The Botanist.

I think every story you write comes with its own inherent challenges. Here are a few I dealt with in my upcoming short story, The Botanist:

  1. Accurately depicting the ways PTSD can affect someone.
  2. Keeping a realistic pace for the romance while staying within the confines of a short story.
  3. Maintaining a balance between a forceful personality and a slightly more mellow one.
  4. Finding the right obscure plants that might be on a botanist’s  bucket list. (As someone who has terrible allergies, I tend to avoid all things flora lol).
  5. Fleshing out two characters in a short space and working to make readers want to know more about them–and their friends.

All I can say is.

Writing is hard lol.

 

 

Lessons from Jo March.

Houghton_AC85.Aℓ194L.1869_pt.2aa_-_Little_Women,_title

Writers can learn a fair amount from fellow creative mind–Josephine March,  the second daughter of the March Family in Louisa M. Alcott’s Little Women.  She suffers through crippling self-doubt and is often caught in the dilemma of knowing what story to tell.  She starts with what sells then morphs into something more.  In the end, the intrepid heroine pours her grief at her sister’s death into telling her family’s story.

Was she writing what she loved or what she feared?

The schools of thought for writing seem to be either write what you love, write what scares you or write what you know…occasionally write what you don’t know.  I’m not certain any or all of it are the best advice.  Then again, advice should always be taken with a healthy dose of internal skepticism.  What works for one might not work for another.

I’m terrified of spiders.

(Not certain I want to write about arachnid spiders).

I’m completely in love with my kindle.

(Maybe a book about transformers in love?)

I’m, of course, being intentionally obtuse.   My real point aside from the absurd is that like Jo March, we should tell the story which speaks to our hearts the most.  Maybe the tale terrifies you, or maybe you adore it.  It might be something you are intimately familiar with, or something you end up researching extensively.  The imporant thing is to share it with the world and be true to yourself.

It’s impossible really to get anywhere with writing that brings satisfaction to your soul if you spend your time writing in an imitation of others.

“Every few weeks she would shut herself up in her room, put on her scribbling suit, and fall into a vortex, as she expressed it, writing away at her novel with all her heart and soul, for till that was finished she could find no peace.”
― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

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*Image Citation: “*AC85.Aℓ194L.1869, Houghton Library, Harvard University”

Follow The Leader

Plot

Are you a conductor leading an orchestra of characters? Or are you a leaf being carried away on a sea of creativity with your characters steering you through the rapids?

I would like to pretend I’m the conductor who is firmly guiding the characters in my brain through the waters of writing a paranormal romance.

The truth is that most of the time, my characters are the guides.  I rarely plot out a story because when I do…nothing I plan on seems to happen.  I’ve given up on ever being a true ‘plotter.’  I’m a pantser all the way.

Pantser is a very odd word.  It’s not really a word.

And now I’m distracted by semantics.  Is it really semantics when it’s not a real word?

Hmm.

 

So what kind of writer are you?

 

 

 

Writing: Genius or Insanity?

I, on occasion, get so frustrated with my characters that I write letters to them.  (Doesn’t everyone?) I thought I’d share a few of them.

Two wolves playing near forestJust a few I scribbled while writing Ivy:


 

Dear Ivy,

WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

*headdesk*

Me


Dear Gareth,

Please stop yelling in my head.

I’m giving you a chapter with Ivy all to yourself and you even get to be a git to Steve. So shut the hell up so I can finish work.

Git.

Love,

Me


Dear Steve,

I don’t care if you are a wolf right now.

Sneezing at someone is never an appropriate way to end an argument.

Love,

Me


Dear Steve,

Please SHUT up for like two hours so I can finish a chapter for Darby.

Please. I realize that I am an evil writer who took your Ivy from you, but seriously.  Stop growling at me.

You are a fictional character.

Love

Me


Dear Gareth,

You can’t eat the bad guy until Steve questions him.

Stop growling.

Love,

Me


 

Dear Ivy,

Please remember that this was your idea.

Love,

Me

Delete, Delete, Delete

Replacements1I try, as a rule, not to edit while I’m writing.  I found myself a little stuck  on the last few chapters of Natasha so I decided to do a mini-revision while I worked out the problem.  The first thing I tend to do when I’m editing a rough draft is search for my uses of the words ‘that’ and ‘just.’  Both words I often overuse while writing.  They slip in the nasty little buggers.  I found close to a hundred uses of the word ‘that.’  I managed to delete over seventy of them.

It’s the one thing I know my betas and editor will ding me for consistently.

Those are the easy deletes.

The harder ones are moments in a story you love, but find don’t fit with everything else.  It feels like you’re cutting out part of your heart.  There were several of those moments in Ivy, less in Natasha.  I was more focused when I wrote Natasha. =)

What do you find the hardest part of editing?