Tag Archives: draft

Absence Makes the Author’s Heart Grow Fonder

IMG_0383   So, I’ve been working on lots of things lately. Lots and lots. Do you ever have, like, a billion projects going on at once and none of them feels close to being completed? Once upon a time, I used to work on one book at a time. Not so anymore. I’m sure I could if I wanted, but, after publishing the Underground Trilogy, I found myself in a perpetual state of writing, plotting, planning, and editing…all at the same time.

It helps because I like to leave books alone for a little while (like the brilliant Stephen King suggests) so I can stop being so attached to the story and re-read it from a reader’s point of view. I also like to do this with trilogies and series because I have found that when I’m writing them one right after the other, I grow tired of the characters and the world. Not because it’s boring or anything, but because I’m a fickle Gemini that is obsessed with change.

For instance, I’ve been working on a trio of books called the Halo Trilogy, which is about a race of half-angels called, you guessed it, Halos, who’ve been called upon to save the world from the fallen angel known as Caducus. Two of the Halos–Aurora and Gray–find themselves unnaturally attracted to one another. They later find out that it actually has an otherworldly explanation.

I love these two characters. I love them because they are different from what I was used to writing. Aurora is headstrong and tough and, at times, even cruelly cold. For reasons wrapped up in her past. Gray, on the other hand, is gentle and kind and helpful. This is different for me because I was used to writing guys with dark secrets and brooding attitudes. Bad boys who wished they were good and all that. Gray sort of shattered all of those stereotypes. He balanced out Aurora and I loved him for it.

But, for some reason, writing these books began to drain me. I don’t know if it’s the world building or the depth I explore each character, but it has literally taken me three years to get through this trilogy. That may not seem like a lot to some writers, but since I’ve begun plotting, I can write books in only a few month’s time. What I’ve been doing with the Halo Trilogy, though, is finishing the books during NaNoWriMo. Something about the competitiveness and tight deadline helps me finish the novels.

And after this past year’s NaNoWriMo, when I finished the second book and started the third, I was so ready for a break from the Halo world. Now, it’s only July, and I’m so freaking ready to return and finish it. I’ve found myself thinking about Gray and Aurora, hating that I’ve left them hanging. I’m itching to come back to them.

Guess what they say is true. Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.

So, my advice to you, if you happen to find yourself in a place where you are bored with your characters and story…take a break. Maybe even a long one. Your readers and characters deserve a story you’re excited about. Your boredom will be evident between the lines. So, take a break. Eventually, the story will pull you back to it.

And, if not, maybe you were bored for a reason.

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Revelations

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Hello, all!
This will be a quick post because it’s nearly 1am and I have to wake up bright and early tomorrow morning! We are creeping up on the mid-week-hump of the WTAMU Writers’ Academy (longer post on this later) and I am soaking up every ounce of creative energy I can this week. While plotting my Zodiacal Dystopian story, I had the realization that really had nothing to do with it–or with the story I am currently writing.

Do you ever just feel like a story is calling to you, asking for attention? Well, that’s how I felt today about the third book in The Underground Series, Alder. It’s the last of this series. My favorite of the three. And I feel like I need to dedicate more time to going through it. I think I got so caught up in the whirlwind of this past year. First writing a book in 6 weeks, then writing another book in 3 months, then finishing another book in ONE month (NaNoWriMo). Then, of course, I published Oaken and jumped into editing Ash and getting it ready for publication. All of these things somehow made my writer’s brain think that it always has to be moving forward, pumping out product, delivering something and in a timely manner.

But the fact that Alder is pushing at my brain when I’m really “supposed” to be writing Soren (the second book in The Halo Series) has to be a sign of sorts. I realized…it’s okay to not always be producing. I’m not a machine. I’m not a publishing house. Creativity will run dry like a once-damp rag that’s been aggressively twisted into a tight cord, wringing out all of those juicy ideas. I’ve always been–well, except for my first book–a tight writer. I’m an English teacher and a grammar freak. I make sure that my book is at least grammatically clean the first go around. So, I’ve never done much deep editing.

But I feel like I should take a closer look. Go a little deeper. I feel like Alder is telling me to do that, and I feel like that’s why Soren has been such a pain to write. I don’t think I’m supposed to be writing it this moment. I thought I was supposed to be writing because it’s been a whole–gasp–six months since I’ve completed a novel! That just won’t do! I must write! I must produce! I must deliver! Well, I must also deliver a quality product. Forcing my creativity and skimping on editing in favor of more writing will not deliver quality.

We live in a world where people feel they can demand artists to create for them because they are used to binge watching/reading things now. In the age of Netflix, we crave that. We don’t want to wait. “Give me more books!” “When are you going to put out your next one?!” “Hurry up and write the next one!” But I think instead of saying, “Okay, okay, I’m working on it,” I’ll calmly say, “All in good time.” Because that’s what each of my books deserves. Good time.