At a recent conference for writers, I overheard a young lady telling her father, ‘Writers are weird.’
I wanted to give that idea some thought, well, the thought it deserved. ‘Are we strange?’
Thinking back to one of my novels, The Girl Nextdoor, I remember an extraordinary occurrence.
My main character decided to be gay.
In my novel, I am the creator, the god of all things, and who is this bitch to derail my whole train of thought on this novel?
Some call me a pantser. I think ‘discovery writer’ is probably easier to understand but, I suppose I, too, am strange. The characters tell the story. Some nights at 3 AM, they will awaken me with dialogue. You see, the difference between a hobbyist and a true writer or author is the former will turn over and ignore the characters. Famous last words ‘I will remember that in the morning.’
I, the author, will crawl out of bed and switch on the computer.
The loss of those golden ideas is a travesty if your characters are like mine. Does that make us weird?
I know many authors who are died in the wool plotters.
Imagine that you are taking a car trip from New York to San Diego. You have your destination plugged into the GPS, your gas tank is full, and your stops for fuel, food, and sleep are all planned out. That is a plotter. You most probably have a list that contains your activities for any given day of the week.
Now take that same scenario but, you don’t own a Garmin. You have a general idea of what the major highways are and, you know that you need to head west.
Which of the two do you think will get to San Diego first, assuming you both left at the same relative time?
Which do you think will stay on budget?
Which one will have more stories to tell?
One of you made it in three days and the other in three weeks; who do you think will have had more fun?
I am the latter when it comes to car trips and writing.
I know that my main character has a goal. She has a shitty life; her father is nowhere to be found, and she must raise herself. She believes the reason he is gone all the time is she is a disappointment to him. (the lie) She is an awkward child as she grew up without a mother. Spending her free time mimicking the stars on MTV (yes, dating myself), her brush becomes her mic and her stuffed animals her audience.
Magic comes into this story as she discovers the pixies who are guiding her, unbeknown to her.
Without plotting any of this, I knew that I wanted her singing to her stuffed animals to be part of the payoff. How do I get there?
What series of events must transpire to follow the story structure and make this story enjoyable with memorable characters?
What if we add another broken person who lives not too far from her? What if her heritage is from Scotland, and what if she not only knows of the pixies but is aware of the white witches and so on?
The story unfolds early on when the two meet while she is under a spell.
This novel is one of my early works, and I will most probably be re-writing it soon. I can do so much better now than then.
Grammarly reports that I have written over 27 million words. During that time, I cannot tell you the number of classes, seminars, and so forth that I have attended. Yes, many were virtual thanks to the pandemic but, that is good in a way; I didn’t lose the travel time.
While the story is still wonderful as it is, I want to take another stab at it. See, we are weird.
My current NANO project is almost finished. Forensic Assassin will be released soon. I am actually toying with the idea of publishing it on KDP for three months to get some feedback. You folks make sure and follow me here or on Twitter, so you are notified when it is released. @authortwscott
The young lady who told her father that writers are weird was not far off the mark. The truth that she will discover one day is that we are all a little weird.
As far as the car trips, always allow extra days to explore the world around you. With smartphones, we are dependent on step-by-step directions and we probably cannot read a map to save our lives.
Stop at the out-of-the-way shops, and take the side roads instead of the large multi-lane freeways, if you can.
I am a chatty Kathy when it comes to travel and meeting people. You would be shocked how everyone has a story to tell, and if you can get them to speak…you might have a story for your next novel.
I typically will start with their name and compliment it. If they respond I tell them I am an author and I am always looking for names. That is a half-truth, I am looking for interesting people with a name.
Jim Croce ‘I got a name’ is worth listening to. The song began rattling around my head as I wrote that last line.
I hope you all have a super weekend and are staying safe during these trying times.
Follow me here, drop me a note. I love to hear from you.
Much Love -TW