How Much of Me Is in My Writing #MFRWAuthor

Do we write in order to fulfill fantasies and experience what we will never face in reality? Do we write to make sense of past problems or heal old wounds? Or do we simply enjoy the idea of playing God and watching the characters we create become a better version of themselves?

Me?… Well, I have had a pretty amazing life up to this point so there aren’t many scars to mend and the few crazy encounters I’ve had, I prefer to forget. So, that’s not why I write.

Fantasy fulfillment? A chance to play God? Well… maybe.

Why ask these questions in a blog post about how much of ME I put into my writing? Because how much of me exists within my characters and story worlds kind of depends on why I put them there, to begin with, doesn’t it? And for me, I believe it comes down to the pure joy of putting something to paper that previously only existed in imagination. It’s reminiscent of playtime as a kid. (But let’s not forget kids play to learn and make sense of their world…)

There is always a piece of me in everything I write but just like my kids are not ME simply because I am their mother, my characters and stories are not autobiographical either.  Other factors in my life help to influence, shape and create what ends up on the page, sprinkled with a lifelong interest in psychology and astrology. (Odd mix, I know.)

Inevitably, I know myself best so I will take quirks, hobbies, experiences from my own life and sprinkle them into my story. For example, headaches are a big thing for me. I started getting migraines when I was in elementary school with intense pain and vomiting. That sort of experience is not only uncomfortable but interferes significantly with daily life. My main character in the novel, The Between World, suffers from this same infliction but in her case, it is an unfortunate side effect of psychic abilities. (If only I could say the same…) It was an experience I felt I could write even if the reasons for it differed.

I like to think of my characters as friends I’ve never met. When I sit down to write I ask myself who is this person living in the story world I’ve established and why would she do what I’m asking her to do? Will her personality resemble mine? Probably. Would I do the same in her situation? Not necessarily.

If the character doesn’t interest me or I don’t care about the world in which she lives, I have no reason to follow her. I’m human and let’s face it, as humans, we tend to be drawn to others who share something in common with us. Shared experience is often the foundation of new friendships.

So yes, I suppose you will find ME in varying degrees in every story I write. I hope that’s a good thing. 🙂

Thanks for checking out my post in this week’s challenge. Hop over to the MFRW52 Challenge page or click on the Linky Tools below for the complete list of participating authors.

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My Favorite Thing I’ve Written #MFRWAuthor

Happy Friday and Welcome to my first post in the 52 Week Challenge! This week’s topic asks what is my favorite thing I’ve written… and why?

This is a tough one for me and looking back, it’s almost impossible to pick one story over the other because when it comes down to it, the short answer to this question is that the story I am writing *right now* is my favorite.

And no, I don’t mean that my current WIP is the best. Actually, I mean that when I sit down and throw myself into a new project, that project is all-consuming and I consider it the best and most exciting thing I’ve ever written. That enthusiasm is what keeps me writing even when the newfound love sours and the current project loses its luster.

Just like in a relationship, sometimes you have to keep looking for ways to recreate the magic. Doting on stories past won’t do it. I think if I spent too much time telling myself a story I’d already finished was my favorite then I might not be as motivated to keep going on the new one.

But of course, I do have stories that carry a special place in my heart. The Between World is the first book I published and I’ll never forget the feeling of holding the paperback in my hands and knowing it was my own creation. Priceless! Even though it isn’t the best thing I’ve written, it was my first and so it will always share space on the “favorites” list.

Then there is the short story I wrote for a competition in 2016 called Port of Entry. Not only did that story surprise me as I wrote it but it surprised me again when it was chosen out of many to propel me into the second round of the competition. I needed that boost of confidence.

And of course, there is the story I have attempted to write on and off for about twenty years. It’s taken various shapes and forms but because I’ve never been truly satisfied with the effort, it still only lives in my imagination. One of these days it will find its way out into the world, I’m sure of it. When that happens, who knows, it may be my favorite!

Or perhaps my favorite will be one I’ve not even conceived yet. I’m hoping I have many years of writing left ahead of me and I’m excited about all the possibilities I can explore with each new project I delve into.

So for the time being, I shall return to my current favorite project – the work-in-progress going on at the keyboard right now as we speak about a girl destined to save the world from an alien invasion. Stay tuned. 😉

Want to learn what other authors are saying about their favorites? Check out the MFRW 52 Challenge Blog for the linky list of participating authors.

Waking Fire Fifth Week Update

It’s been an exhausting week!

The kids are back to school and instead of having more time to write, I seem to have less time to finish anything. How is that even possible?

Nonetheless, I am making progress. Waking Fire stands at 47,789 words and I’m working my way through the final five chapters. (oh my!) I’m really excited about how much I have written in August but unfortunately, I will not be completing the first draft by the 31st as I had originally planned. I’ve set a new goal of completing the first draft September 8th.

Still… I’m happy. When I set out to write this book, I sort of expected that I’d fall into the same trap I encounter with every book I try to write – I’d get bored, fed up, lost, misdirected, or all of the above and simply give up.

Good news of the week – the wireless issues that plagued us last week now appear to be resolved. It took not only a new wireless router but also a visit from our internet provider to sort out the issues. Since then (knock on wood) there have been no problems.

The kids and I joke that our house is inhabited by the ‘Ghost of Bob’ because every so often, the toilet will have a mind of its own and flush. It will go months without doing it and then bam, there’s the Ghost of Bob we’ll say! Well, I suspect Ghost of Bob is getting bored playing around with the toilet and decided to find new ways to let us know he’s around…

Last night, in the middle of typing Chapter 16, my laptop shut down! It’s a relatively new machine and has had pretty much no issues up to this point. Most of the time when I use it, I have it plugged in but last night I used the battery. I couldn’t have been writing more than an hour when a battery that had been fully charged one moment, gave out with no warning the next. Zap!

The End!

For a few minutes, I thought I lost everything on Scrivener. Wow, that would be beyond heartbreaking. Thankfully, it’s all there. (And a backup has since been created) I did have one minor unexplainable glitch which I’ve managed to fix but otherwise, sigh of relief… I didn’t lose anything.

That was a close one!

Perhaps Ghost of Bob is not impressed with the new direction this story has taken? Well, too bad, I say. I’m going to continue on anyway and if it’s truly so awful, no big deal. That’s what the rewrites are for, right? We’ll fix it next month.

And then… the dryer just went belly. If it’s one thing… it’s another.

Anyway, thanks for sticking with me on this crazy whirlwind adventure. I’ll be back next week with a new update which will hopefully say I’m so close to crossing that finish line I’ve been eyeing up so long now.

Happy Day!

 

Waking Fire Fourth Week Update

It’s been an interesting week of frustrations and progress.

First, the frustrations. Writing shouldn’t hinge on whether or not I have an internet connection but it’s rather eye opening to consider just how often I depend on said connection. Take that away and leave me crippled, or at the very least, grumpy, even though in fairness, I should be way more productive writing. I wish I could say those issues have been resolved with the installation of a new wireless router but lo and behold, we’re still struggling and I’m fighting an in and out connection just to accomplish anything that requires I be connected to the world – like right now writing this day-late blog post. (ha)  Any suggestions?

It’s the last week of summer vacation for the kiddos and while I should be happy that soon I’ll have uninterrupted writing time, I am inevitably sad that I’ll be on my own. <big sigh> Let’s face it, I get way more done when I can concentrate on well… getting stuff done … but it’s not nearly as much fun. I like having the company and I miss them when they’re gone.

Since school starts next week, that also means even if technically, summer isn’t really over, it might as well be. Back to the grind. Early bedtimes. Nightly homework. Grumpy mornings. No more leisurely start to the day or trips to the pool. The days are getting shorter. I already notice the early darkness and the fact that it still looks like nighttime when I get up at 6am. As much as I love fall and look forward to everything it has to offer, I’m reluctant to kiss summer goodbye. I guess that makes me a sentimental sap. I’m already mourning the end of my garden.

We’ve spent a lot of time this week preparing for the dreaded back-to-school. The kids approach this task solemnly. It’s kind of fun to pick out new clothes, shoes, and supplies, but it means the day they would rather put off is catching up with them.

We were totally boring for the eclipse. It didn’t occur to me to get glasses and I know what my kids are like so I didn’t want them tempted to look. So instead, we locked ourselves away in the house for three hours with all the curtains pulled to watch movies. Boring. I’ll be better prepared for the next one in seven years. (ha ha)

But in all the crazy to-ing and fro-ing, I did manage to get a fair bit of writing done. I’m not quite as far as I’d hoped to be by day twenty-four but sitting at 38,578 words and 64% complete is not too shabby by any stretch of the imagination! I’ll take it.

I have a growing list of changes I want to make when it comes time to start rewrites and a nagging fear that I’m writing complete crap but I will persevere regardless. There are other aspects of my story that I do like. I am going to finish this draft. Okay, maybe not by the 31st as originally planned, but I haven’t given up hope on that either. I may have hit a few road blocks with one thing or another but I know when the kids are back in school, I will be able to write a lot more than I do now – maybe even double. If that is the case, there is no reason why I won’t be celebrating the completion of draft one by September 1st!

What do you suppose would be an appropriate way to celebrate?

This morning in the shower, I was struck with a way to make an older idea of mine better. It was a story I started a couple years ago and never finished because I never quite figured out what story I was trying to tell. Maybe it finally hit me? During my down time, I’m going to start brainstorming and who knows, I could end up with the outline for my next book.

Okay, I’m getting a little ahead of myself. (Restlessness is setting in.) Fear not, I still plan to immerse myself in rewrites for this book come September.

Time to enjoy those last fleeting moments of summer with my boys. Until next week…

 

Waking Fire Third Week Update

Even slow progress is still progress which is what I keep reminding myself this week. I’ve still not quite pushed past the midpoint of my story but I’m teetering on that edge with 28,326 words. I anticipated I would need to put aside the writing for at least a day or two because of family issues I anticipated this week but I underestimated how big an emotional toll those issues would take on me. Once I hit Monday, my writing ceased and if I write much at all today, it will be dabbling just keep my forward momentum. The setback was inevitable but I’m not letting it slow me down and by Thursday this week, I expect to be back into regular writing routine.

Aside from that, I’ve also started hitting those middle part ‘blahs’. By the 9th chapter I felt like everything I wrote was the same. Was it because I already mapped out the story ahead of time and therefore had no big surprises? Or did the pacing feel slow because it inevitably takes longer to write than to read? I see a lot of areas where I will need revisions – dull descriptions, overused words, etc. My enthusiasm started waning and some days it felt like I was pushing myself just to get the words on the page and because of that I worry about how much I will end up cutting when it comes time to start revisions.

Then again, my head was not really in the best place because of the family issues looming closer so perhaps those chapters I wrote before all the dust settled are more a reflection of my anxious state of mind? Let’s hope!

I wrote the first draft of my book description but I expect this to go through many more revisions before it’s worthy of sharing. The first draft wreaks of melodrama and made me realize I don’t have a very clear vision of the overarching series antagonist. This is something that may become clearer as I finish writing the book I’m writing or it may be something that requires a little extra work to uncover before the first book is complete.  I’ll worry about that next week.

In the meantime, I will continue to push forward on the first draft because I still feel it’s a worthwhile endeavor and hopefully I will have better progress to report next week!

Back to dabbling… I stalled out on chapter ten where I’m expecting the first love scene so this should certainly prove an interesting place to pick up the pen and start again.