Post National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I’m often drained and exhausted. And while, I found myself tire and definitely in need of a break in December. It wasn’t the same.
I didn’t feel defeated or emotionally wrung out like I did in 2017 or 2018.
This NaNo, I reveled in writing for the first time in over twelve months.
Between November 2018 and November 2019, only two things changed. I wrote a story I’d wanted to write for over a year and a half. But more importantly, I had more of an outline than I’d ever used before.
I read (well, skimmed) Save the Cat! Writes a Novel. I used a bastardized version of the beat sheet to time my chapters out. And I found it helped a great deal with pacing and not writing too quickly (one of my greatest sins as an author.)
I also outlined the who, what, where, why and when. I didn’t actually have an outline so much as putting down the details for the victim, several suspects, and the killer. It helped keep track of them all, which is important in a cosy mystery.
What I also enjoyed was writing an autistic, asexual main character who happened to have an asexual love interest. I’m going to enjoy exploring their connection more as the series continues.
I had the most enjoyable experience with NaNo ever.
And I definitely believe it showed on the page.
Did you take part in NaNo?
I thought it would be fun to think about the theme songs for some of the main characters in my various books. I picked out a few favourites. And, in some cases, songs jumped out at me for those particular characters.
In completely random order.
– Woody (Pure Dumb Luck) – A tie between ‘Humble and Kind’ and ‘Real Good Man’ by Tim McGraw
– Francis (After the Scrum) – ‘All I Want’ by Kodaline
– Elaine (Misguided Confession) – ‘This Is Me’ from The Greatest Showman
– Mac (One Last Heist) – ‘Let Your Heart Hold Fast’ by Fort Atlantic
– Bishan (The Grasmere Trilogy) – ‘Ode to Joy’
– Iggy (Here Come The Son) – ‘Sympathy for The Devil’ by Guns & Roses
– Fie (At War With A Broken Heart) ‘Ring of Fire’ by Johnny Cash
– Ivan (Forged in Flood) – ‘Killing in the Name’ by Rage Against The Machine
– Ivy (Ivy/Blackbird Anthology) – 93 Million Miles’ by Jason Mraz
– Dusk (Found You) – ‘Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude’ by Jimmy Buffett
This was fun.
I might have to do it for other characters.
The one word that epitomizes Pure Dumb Luck is fun. Definitely. 100%. Fun.
And I definitely made that decision consciously.
The first two novels I wrote in 2019 were emotionally heavy. One was a nightmare to write from conception to the last word. I desperately wanted/needed to enjoy the process of writing again.
Woody and Eddie are the epitome of a Rom-Com. While writing, I definitely visualized the entire story as a movie. Pure Dumb Luck—coming to a theatre near you—I wish.
Sadly, we’ll have to settle for the written word.
It was lines like this that had me laughing constantly.
“What’s a blowjob on the baseball scale of sex?” Woody followed Eddie down the trail. They had four more miles to go before they hit their first campsite of the hike. “Third?”
“Two balls and a strike .”
There are so many moments in the novella that had me chuckling (and wondering if my editor would make me rewrite them.)
She didn’t, thankfully.
I might’ve had to fight her to keep my precious moments of silly humour together.
Do you love a good Rom-Com?
I’m writing this blog post on Sunday. And my brain is all over the place. It’s hard to find peace and joy when the world seems chaotic and filled with pain. And writing a holiday novella seems almost impossible.
Though, that is not the topic of this post.
I wanted to talk about fighting your muse. Something I don’t recommend, and something I frequently do as a pantser.
My muse likes to dump ideas on me constantly at inconvenient times and places.
In the middle of writing a story?
My bastard of a muse: “here’s a brilliant and completely unrelated idea.”
My muse: “Have you considered….”
In the shower?”
My Muse: “I am a genius.”
So when do you fight the muse?
It can be dangerous to ignore good ideas. I mean, they’re good. You want to write them.
Some ideas I have to let go because I don’t think they’re mine to write. Others I jot down in my idea notebook (I start a new one every year.) And some, I start immediately because my brain won’t quit.
The key is to know when to battle your muse into submission–like when you have a deadline and don’t have time for a new idea.
And when to go with the flow.
How about you?
Does your muse flood you with ideas at the worst moments?
There are groups of villains in Here Comes The Son, my urban fantasy. I tried quite hard to ensure none of them came off as caricatures of a baddie. Voldemort comes to mind when I think of over the top villains.
For me, some of the most fascinating baddies, are ones who righteously believe in their actions. They don’t see themselves as bad or evil. They wholeheartedly think they’re doing the right thing.
The *insert spoiler* were fun to write. They genuinely believe they’re doing God’s work in their own twisted way. They’ve separated from others to follow their own path.
And gone horribly wrong as a result.
They believe their motivation is correct.
For me, motivation is both fascinating and essential. Why is the villain doing what they’re….doing? I don’t know if other authors are as interested in it. I am.
Backstory I think goes hand in hand with motivation. One leads into the other. Some characters personal histories never make it onto the page, but having that in my mind helps me tell their side of the story.
And I’m also always fascinated when others pick up on those little hints in a story.
The alternate title to this post would be: Five ways Here Comes The Son surprised me while writing it.
‘Writing is hard’ is accurate as fuck, though.
1. Level of Difficulty.
Of all the novels I’ve written, Here Comes The Son, is at the top of the list for being the most difficult. I struggled. My publisher had to push my editing deadline multiple times. I hit writer’s block for the first time, really, in my writing career. I loved the story, the characters, the city…everything, but I still had to fight for each word.
2. Side Characters.
I hadn’t actually intended the cast of characters in the story to become so large and varied.
3. The Bad Peeps.
I’ve done a lot of varied and interest researching for my books. Here Comes The Son probably stretched my googling skills to the max.
5. The Ending.
This actually coincides with the first on this list. The ending changed a bit over the course of writing the novel. In fact, at one point, I almost gave up on trying to put it together.
I’m glad I didn’t.
I adore Iggy and Lalo.
And their story.
….well, a letter to twenty-year-old me.
First, you’re going to be okay. Divorce is scary, but it’s not the end of the world.
Second, you’re autistic. I know you think you have some terminal illness because you get so tired after being around people. It’s okay. You’re autistic. And you’re going to be so relieved when you find out.
Third, you will fall in love again.
Fourth, the divorce was about him…not you. He’s been divorced three more times since you.
Fifth, you’re brilliant. And you can write. You just have to believe enough in yourself to try.
Now, stop crying into the ice cream.
He’s not worth it.
You’re going to be fine.