I Know I Need to Kill Him, But…

This time last year I was struggling with the idea of killing off one of the main characters in the book I am writing.  Way back in the early planning stages, I knew this character would die.  He had to.  A huge chunk of the storyline could not happen if he didn’t meet his Maker.

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But somewhere between the initial creation of this character and my molding him into a perfectly flawed but still loveable goon, the worst happened.

I fell in love.

Yup.  You read that right.

It happens a lot to me.  One minute I am frantically writing down character traits, giving birth to personalities and creating backstories.  The next minute I am looking at this wondrous human being I have produced out  of thin air and thinking “How you doin’?” (Heavy “Friends” tv show reference, if you don’t get that last line.)

 

I love the underdog, the loser, the bad boy.  I will go to the pound and fall head over heels for the mangiest mutt they have.  I will root for the team that has no chance in hell of ever winning a championship.  Because I know, no matter how bleak it may seem, there’s a story there that will melt your heart and lift your spirits.  A down-on-his-luck rogue who will make you think you’re the most beautiful woman in the world.  A puppy that was abused by its last family but now showers you with unconditional love.  A hockey team full of misfits that have more heart and perseverance than any other team out there.

 

 

These are my people.  These are the characters who speak to me when I sit at my desk with my pen and notebook.  I give them life.  I give them a voice.  They give me hope.  I love these characters the best.  They make me want to share their stories.

So this time last year, I was sick with worry.  I knew I had to kill this amazing man who I felt such a connection to but I  just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Yes, his life was filled with one bad decision after another.  Morality was not in his vocabulary.  He had seen and done some unspeakable things.  But in his defense, I recognized that all of this could be attributed to a terrible childhood.  And he tried to do the right thing.  Sometimes.  And he loved the heroine of my story.  My God, they were so perfect together and <sigh> those romantic things he said to her when no one was around…and if you only knew how truly sweet and loving this tough guy could be when he wanted to and…

I kept him alive for just a little longer than I initially planned.  But now the time has come.  He has come to the edge of the cliff and I need to shove him off.  There is no turning back.  I tell myself “Just do it fast.  It won’t hurt all that much and you’ll feel relieved once it’s finally over with and you can finally move on.”  Once I kill him off, I can take the story to where I originally intended it to go.  As long as he remains alive, none of what I planned out makes any sense and the entire project is going to take even longer than it already has.  Which, at the moment, feels like forever.

Time to rip off that band-aid.  Wish me luck!

Love and Peace!

Currently Listening To:

Halsey and G Easy – Him and I

Taylor Swift – New Year’s Day

Chris Stapleton – Nothing Compares to You

 

 

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I Can Do This…Right?

I have wanted to be an author, a writer, a storyteller  – for as long as I knew what those things were.  I can recall sitting in the back of the classroom at the Catholic grammar school I attended, one of the few non-Catholics in the room.  Sister Mary Margaret was instructing the class on the do’s and don’ts of accepting the body of Christ, and since I would never be required to line up at Church with the other kids and eat the wafer, during religion class begin to daydream.  I would create little scenes in my head – scenes full of dark, moldy dungeons and luminous princesses and handsome young knights who would climb in through windows to fight off dragons, ultimately sweeping the grateful princess (who would, ironically, always look like me) off her feet.

In my early teens, I filled notebook after notebook with stories of romance and betrayal and heartbreak.  Teen angst at its best.  Most of the stories, funny enough, focused on the heroine (me!) and some astoundingly famous, talented, handsome man – a real-life rock star, professional athlete, actor or whatever current celebrity had caught my eye at the time of writing.  I was drafting fanfic before fanfic was a thing, I guess.

When I wabigstock_story_2226743s in my late teens and early 20’s, I tried my hand at writing poetry.  Bad, sappy, nonsensical poetry.  But my gift of storytelling never left me.  While I was busy raising kids and taking care of a house and a family, I put away my writing for many years, but still managed to create entertaining stories for my little ones each night before the went to sleep.  Sometimes one of “Mommy’s quick bedtime stories” lasted an hour or more, simply because Mommy was having way too much fun conceiving it on the fly.  I think I enjoyed it more than my kids did.

No matter which phase of my life I was in, the dream was always to write a book of my very own, to create a story so thought-provoking and detailed, with complex characters with relationships and issues that the reader could identify with.  I wanted to create characters a reader would fall in love with.  After my divorce, I set out to finally do just that.  It was my time, I told myself.  A door had opened for me.  This was my opportunity to begin the journey of achieving my #1 goal of becoming a published author.

I have been divorced for 16 years now.  In that time, I was a paid blogger for 6 months.  I interned at my local newspaper and had three articles published, one of which (a “riveting” piece about the yearly Memorial Day parade in a neighboring town) made the front page.  In my defense, it is extremely difficult to be a single mom (with no support from her ex) of two active boys when you work a full-time job and try to write in your “off hours”.  Because basically, there are no “off hours” when you are a single mom.

Now, however, my kids are much older.  I still work full time at a job that keeps me extremely busy (I work a lot of overtime during our busy season, which comes twice a year).  But I do have a lot more free time than I used to.  I also have managed to create and stick with what I look at as my smartest body of work so far – a novel I have been editing, and re-editing, and then editing some more, for the past 2 years.  I have surpassed so many self-imposed deadlines that I have lost count.  I am still as in love with my characters and storyline now as I was in the early days (which I think is a good thing since most of my writer friends who have been doing this longer than me tell me you can sometimes lose interest in your work if you let it go on for too long).

I do suffer from occasional bouts of writer’s block.  In addition, my lack of writing time during my crazy work schedule frustrates me to no end.  I become filled with doubt at times that this book will ever see the light off day.  I believe in this work and these wonderful beings I have created on paper.  I want to give them life and share them with the world.  I dream of the day that I see my name on the cover, the day I hand my mom the book I have written and say “Here you go, Mom.  You now have a daughter who is a published author”.  I dream of seeing that pride in her eyes.  I dream of what my kids will tell their kids and grandkids after I am gone.  Maybe during bedtime, they will create stories of a strong, devoted mom who overcame all obstacles and followed her heart to accomplish her lifelong dream.

But then my throat tightens and I feel the terror rise up from my gut.  What if I don’t accomplish what I set out to do?  What if I never finish my book?  What if I don’t publish it and all this will be for naught?  Someday when I am taking my last breath, will I look back on my life with regret?  No one can make this happen but me.  I can finish this book, and make it as great as I know it could be, or I can let fear overtake me and procrastinate each weekend until I can’t bear to even think.

I have to do this.  I NEED to finish this.  I can do this.  I can do this.  Right?  I CAN DO THIS.  WRITE!!!!!!

Wish me luck!

Love and Peace!

Currently Listening To:

Tom Petty – “Running Down a Dream”

Truths

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I write about conversations I have had – while driving in my car alone.  In my head.  With an imaginary person.

I write about past relationships.  Lovers I wished I had.  And ones I could not wait to see go.

I write about far away places I dream of traveling to, as I can only imagine them to be.  And places I know like the back of my hand.

I write about struggles I have experienced.  And the ones I hope to never have.

I write about my life.  And yours.  If I know you.  And if I don’t, then I write about the life I think you might have.  If it were mine.

I write.  Just because.

Currently listening to:

Modernage “Bella”

 

Location, location, location

The more I write, the more I find how important where I do my writing really is.

Normally, I sit down in the comfy recliner in my bedroom.  The chair is placed in

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a well-lit corner of my room, which is in a quiet spot located in the back of my home.  The dog always curls up at my feet when I sit down, and I could go for hours without anyone interrupting me once I begin.  It’s the perfect spot to let my creativity flow.

Sometimes, though, I  need a change of pace.  On occasion, I will take a sand chair and a notebook to the beach (early morning is my favorite time of day there  – no sound except for the roar of the surf).  If I am home alone, I have also gotten a good amount of writing done on the couch in my living room.  It’s a cheery spot with a big bay window to let in a lot of light and fresh air.

Places I do not like to write:  my backyard.  Too many bugs and the next door neighbor is nosey as hell.  I never seem to get much accomplished when I am out back.  I spend more time swatting mosqitoes and running away from bees than I am writing.  And my neighbor almost always peers his head over the fence as soon as my butt hits the chair, greeting me with a “Watcha writing?”.  Ugh.

Where are your favorite spots to write?  What works/does’t work for you?

Currently listening to:

Rise Against “Swing Life Away”

Pearl Jam “Yellow Ledbetter”

Elle King “I Told You I Was Mean”

Balance

So after running myself ragged between work, home life, committing myself to a million different writing projects at once, and everything in between…something gave.  I found myself severely run down and ill.  Again.

I knew I was pushing myself, yet I’d stay up late every night, trying to finisBalanceh a chapter, or furiously jotting down a new idea.  Sometimes I’d start to do research on a locale for a new story idea after dinner, and then next thing I knew it was 1 AM!  Something had to give, and that something, unfortunately, was me.

So I decided to take the summer off from my adding any new chapters of Canaan’s Promise.  I’m not anywhere near finished with Canaan and Riley’s saga.  Far from it.  I have a draft of the next chapter and outlines of a few more that follow.  But I have made the decision to just put that project on the backburner for the summer.  Same go

es with any of the fanfic I was dabbling in, as well as the two other unnamed projects I was writing.

I will devote this summer to my novel, which is in the editing stages (yet again, after a change in the storyline for one of the characters).  Hopefully, if all goes well, I will be done with it and have it up on Amazon September-ish.

 

Summer is my busy season at my job.  When there is overtime being offered, I’d be a fool to turn that down.  Such is the life of a poor, struggling writer!  I could see I would just be spreading myself out too thin if I continued at the pace I was working at.  Someday, hopefully, I can cut back on my real job instead of my writing job when time becomes scarce.

Until then, Canaan’s Promise is on temporary hiatus until the Fall.  I’ll still be blogging here, though, while I work on the novel.

Happy Summer!  Peace and love!

A Little Pick Me Up

I’m working on a particularly heart-wrenching scene at the moment.  It’s an argument between two people who are coming to the end of their relationship, and even though neither of them wants to admit out loud it’s the end, they know.  This is a tough one for me to write because this particular moment – and the dialogue – is semi-autobiographical.  The scene is thick with stinging discomfort and deep-rooted memories of a time I’d rather not stir up in my memory banks.  But…I’m a writer!  If I have to dig up some raw emotions in order to communicate my story, so be it.

As always, I’ve got my music blasting in order to keep my sanity in check and my depression at bay.  Nothing like a little Journey to pull you out of a hole.  : )    When all is said and done, if even just one reader says they got something out of it, this will all be worth it.

Hope you are having a peaceful week!  Love!

Currently listening to:

Lucina Williams “Changed the Locks”

My Chemical Romance “I Don’t Love You”

Miley Cyrus “Adore You”

Journey “Send Her My Love”

Velvet Revolver “Fall to Pieces”

 

 

Loving Your Characters

In the process of my writing over the past few years, I have discovered more and more how much I really, really love developing my characters.  Whether I mention it in my work or not, I create a background story for each of them – examine their childhood, where they came from, what makes them tick.  This is the BEST part of writing for me.  I enjoy this part of the process so much!

I have found that I love it so much, that I often create additional characters, ones that I am not currently needing, and keep them saves in files on my laptop.  These “extras” often have long, intricate back stories loaded with personality flaws, fears, goals, and whatever else they need to make them interesting and to keep me satisfied.  I probably have way more characters than one author will ever need in a lifetime!  Ironically enough, I have yet to use any of these extra characters in any of my current works, most likely because I just keep coming up with new ones (sometimes one or two a week) for the work I am focused on at the moment.

I finally put up Chapter 26 for Canaan’s Promise, and am halfway through 27 at the moment.  Things are about to take a crazy turn soon with Riley  – stay tuned!  I am editing my novel still…this is neverending, but I nevertheless am hoping for a December 2017 release date.  The title has definitely changed, but I am not 100% ready to release that as of yet.  When we get a little closer I will post the cover pic here.  I also have some “just for fun” things I am writing – another Wattpad story which will be up in a month or two (going to try and post all of it at once, or at least half, instead of chapter y chapter), and some fanfiction – my guilty pleasure- which I write in my “down time” to keep me on my toes.

Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!  Happy Mother’s Day to all of the amazing mommies out there!  ❤

Currently Listening To:

Kid Cudi “Pursuit of Happiness”

Bruce Springsteen “Tougher Than the Rest”

Chris Stapleton “Tennessee Whiskey”