Accidental (Story) Babies

This wasn’t the deskscape I intended to post today. The deskscape I intended to post was the usual sort. Desktop wallpaper, cup of tea, couple items in front of the screen. Pink notebook, because I’m going to be making use of that for this session, and Happy Bunny, because, well, Happy Bunny.  It looked, without editing, (except for size) like this:



I didn’t want to change out the Union Jack desktop, same as I didn’t want to change out Ichabod and Abbie (refresher below, for new readers)


Hey, guys.

but A) it bugs me when all my deskscapes look too much the same, and B) look at that nifty shelfie background, that reminds me of some of my favorite authors, and the sort of books I want to get on to other peoples’ shelves. It was an okay picture, and I fiddled with it some, in editing, but it wasn’t the right picture, because it didn’t tell the whole story.  It didn’t talk about Monday night all-nighters, when it’s me and my imaginary friends, because the rest of the world is asleep, and we slip back into 1784 together.

This header picture comes from me pushing back my chair to either refill my water bottle (not pictured) or feed Skye (probably both) and thinking that the desk I’d been working at for hours looked pretty cool. I took the picture. I didn’t intend to share it.  I couldn’t. I shouldn’t. It was too messy. People would see. There’s a character reference picture on the screen. People will think I “cast” my stories, and I don’t.  They’ll be able to read the text on the screen. They’ll be able to read the text on the pages, both printed and handwritten. They’ll hate it. (My dad’s voice, in the back of my head, whispers, “they’ll steal your ideas.” Thanks, Dad, but that’s not how it works.) They’ll hate me. I’m doing it wrong. Dooooooooooooom.

Uh, no. No to all of that. This is the picture that had to go with today’s blog, because this is the real picture. This is what my working desk looks like. Her Last First Kiss is not the book I intended to write, but it’s the right one. It’s not nice. It’s not comfortable.  It’s late nights and marked-up pages, and more surprises than I had expected as I embark on chapter ten of the second draft, which is what I’m doing today. It scares me.

But, Anna, another, more rational, voice in my head reminds me, you already wrote the book. Thanks, Past Me, but this is different. Now that I have written the first draft, I know Hero and Heroine better, and I know not only what they’ve already been through, but where they still need to go, and it’s…sticky. It’s messy. It has scribbled notes in two different pencils and green Marvy Le Pen ink, sticky notes both Post-It and PaPaYa! Art, and, somehow, “Accidental Babies,” by Damien Rice, became one of this story’s theme songs. I did not plan it that way, but, the first time I heard it, boom, there it was.

The lyrics are very much grownups-only, and may not be a gentle reader’s cup of tea, but, as soon as the opening notes found their way through my earbuds, I-don’t-remember-how-long-ago, the connection was instantaneous. Yes. That. It’s raw. It’s honest. It’s imperfect. It hurts. It’s right. It’s right for the story, and right for the characters, and, as I get myself ready to take that irreversible step into the next part of the book, it’s a big moment for all of us.

The scene I’m tackling now is one I’d always wanted to write, before Hero or Heroine ever showed up in my head, before the idea for Her Last First Kiss ever existed. It was one of those “hm, wouldn’t it be fun to do X, but flip the genders?” Yeah, you’re cute, Past Me. Past Me did not know Hero and Heroine when she came up with that scene idea, and she certainly didn’t know that the nameless jeweler in the last couple of chapters was going to get elbowed out of the way by an actual character, who knows other characters. She didn’t take into account that said characters will be talking to other characters, which means that Hero and Heroine are not exactly as alone as she thought they were going to be. Keeping all of that in mind goes a long, long way towards banishing the characters blinking at me from a blank white background.

Kicking Character X out of the previous scene did, in fact, turn out to be exactly what the scene needed to come alive, and now has me awash in a sea of eighteenth century underwear,  lots of virtual old-timey window shopping, fully aware now, that the walls do have ears. I get a shiver when I remember that, and it reminds me that this kind of thing can’t be manufactured. It will, however, show up if I do, and so, I’m here. Well, there. Back to 1784 I go.




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