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Don't Try so Hard

Quite often when I start a new book, I get stuck with "what am I doing?" "What happens next?" Then, when I sit to write, I struggle with words. I generally know what's going to happen in the story, but the words just won't come.

Writing a novel is NOT easy.

I knew I was going to write a book around my trip to Bar Harbor before I left Maine. In fact, my buddy Jennifer was asking me what the story might be, and I told her what was taking shape inside my head. I also told her about my stumbling block (there's always a stumbling block when I first get going - how am I going to get around "this"?). She suggested a workaround, one that made a lot of sense, and I was ready to start writing when I got home.

Here's another pointer which I've covered before. As with anything you want to be good at, you have to practice. Every day. It had been a month since DEMON FROM THE CRYPT had gone live, and I'd been waiting to start the new one until after my trip. Which means the only writing I was doing was here at the blog. Which means I was developing rust. Not to be deterred, I dove into the new book (with the catchy, placeholder title of "Elle 3"). Creative juices are dammed up. Still, I started writing.

As I wrote, I found myself getting sidetracked with subplots. Words were making it to the page, but they didn't belong there. So the day after they were written, I'd go back at the chapters with a seam ripper and remind myself "this isn't the story." Then I'd press onward, trying to break the dam to get those juices flowing. Let me tell you, it has been a struggle. Some books are like that.

Yesterday, I was brainstorming with my critique partner and she proposed some additional subplots to write toward to kickstart "the rest of the story." I'd reached the end of my writing day, so I made a note of them and saved them for today. Then, when I went to bed last night, I let my characters take over my subconscious and they showed me something fascinating. While I'd been struggling with getting them to do what I want, they've been playing out the story. One of the things my critique partner had suggested had already been foreshadowed. Well, something similar, anyway. Conflict has already been established. Possibilities have already been suggested.

Despite my best intentions to sabotage myself, I was writing a cohesive story. Sometimes I think my brain is just wired that way. How many times when I've been writing a story have a struggled with "I don't know where this is going?" only to discover I'd already foreshadowed my path forward? My problems come when I think too hard. When I'm trying to force things one direction while my creative subconscious has already laid out a clear path the other direction--usually, the right direction.

The dam has broken. My creative juices are flowing again. I've been trying to write every day, too, which makes a big difference. I'm letting the characters tell me their story and not trying so hard to force them into places they don't belong.

Gee. Maybe it's Elle's neurotic influence kicking in! LOL

Have I mentioned the new audiobook is live? Shout out to Jude Erin who did a fantastic job with THE DEMON FROM THE CRYPT. Have you listened yet? I'd love to hear what you think.

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