Roadblocks and Detours, pt 1

I’m intoxicated and turned on by people who are really honest about themselves. 

-Neil Patrick Harris

This is not the entry I’d originally planned on, which fits the theme rather well. I am writing now on Housemate’s laptop, because mine now flat out refuses the internet except on increasingly rare occasions. I wrote the actual entry for today on that computer, put it on jump drive and planned to to a really easy copy and paste, only…there’s always an only…there is no Word on this computer. Wordpad refuses to cooperate, and there’s gobbeldygook before and after the actual document. I know when to give up on things like this, because I have enough crazy in my life and want to save some brain for actual writing.

I’d thought of bringing up the window and retyping the original post here, but I’m not going to do that, because, well, I don’t want to. This is my space where I can talk about what writing is like for me, and right now, it’s aggravating. I don’t want to retype what I already wrote. Going over and over and over the same thing because I once put those words on the digital page and therefore am obligated to…no. Not doing that. Well, maybe in part, but I’ll paraprhase, because I am cranky.

Paying attention, this year, to my own process, not what “should” work or what others think I “should” be doing, but what actually works for me (and by that, I mean gets and keeps me writing) has reminded me that, when something doesn’t work for me, that’s because it’s not right for me. Not that it or I am wrong or bad, but merely that square pegs do not fit in round holes, and no amount of pounding and cursing and forcing is going to make that happen. Put the square peg in the square hole, round peg in round hole, and we can all get on with our days, happier and more productive, and with a lot less cursing. Probably.

There’s a new session of Camp NaNo going on (coming up?) and…I will not be camping. Am not camping? Either way, for me, it’s a no this time, because Her Last First Kiss needs me exactly where I am, on the floor with my legal pads and sticky notes, elbow-deep in the guts of a story and cast of characters that are taking me on the sort of adventure I’ve wanted to get back into for years. Breaking up the fallow ground of what a story “should” be and letting the characters lead me. Taking a shovel to that ground and digdigdigdigdigdigdigdigdig until I hit the vein of the story, of the characters, of the journey we’re going on together.

It’s an interesting one, to be sure. Wrangling domestic tornadoes and dealing with persnickety electronics remind me how much I want this, and exactly what I am willing to do to get this story, and the novella, all the way to The End and out in the hands of readers. Some of those things are things I didn’t expect.

I’m not reading a lot of historical romance at the moment, which bothers me, but doesn’t. I am inhaling a ton of realistic YA, my story brain craving the deep emotions and intimate voices. I’ve seen four episodes of the first season of Game of Thrones, which makes my heart sing and do happy dances from the sheer beauty, the high stakes, the fact that nobody is safe and nobody is nice and the story world is wide, wide open for anything to happen. I still prefer my romantic couples not to have met in the womb, but watching this gets me excited and invigorated. I want that energy to carry over to historical romance, those rough edges, the sense of high emotional stakes and a grand scale. This morning, I finished reading We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, and wow. Brilliant, brilliant book, and, though it absolutely has its feet in a contemporary setting, it read like a historical, a little brown about the edges. GoT has the same feel for me; yes, it’s fantasy, but it “reads” like historical for me, and that’s where I’m watching from when I go into it.

All of these things go into the idea soup that feeds what I’m working on now, and what I’ll be working on after that. I need to take in what I mean to put out, easy as that. Trying to please every reader is not going to work out, but pleasing my readers? That, I can do. So I do what I know works for me. I write in layers. I talk. I have big furry messes of sticky notes and legal pads and cross things out and write things in and oh no, well, that changes everything, let’s backtrack and get it right…and that’s where the magic happens. I’m not beating my head bloody against a brick wall, but telling my stories, my way, and that’s actually fun. Even if I have to jump around among four machines to get a single document into gear. I know why I’m here; I’m  a storyteller, and the stories need to get from my head to readers’, so that’s going to happen, whatever roadblocks present themselves.

I like to write a lot about identity, about characters who get to a place where they don’t let others tell them who to be, but find confidence and strength in who they actually are, who they actually were all along. Works for me.

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