Lately, and thankfully, I’ve been experiencing the former. I have a character in my head that refuses to be quieted. She keeps me up at night and wakes me early in the morning. I’ve skipped meals just to finish a scene and move her to her next obstacle (or next meeting with her love interest). I’ve admittedly been absent minded about things like house work & paying bills (thank goodness for direct deposit and online banking). I’ve even been a bit neglectful of my family, but luckily my husband understands and my daughter thinks it’s fun to color while I type.
But I know the day will come when the words won’t flow and I’ll get frustrated enough to fold a load of laundry or pay for my garbage pickup. I’ll play a game of Candy Land with my 4yo and watch a movie with my husband. I’ll read a book I’ve been wanting to, but haven’t found the time. Then I’ll listen to some new music and sit in my rocking chair wondering why my heroine has decided to turn away from me.
Have I done wrong by her?
Have I taken her story in a direction it wasn’t meant to go?
Have I changed her development to a point that she is unrecognizable?
And then the cycle will start again. She’ll come back to me. I’ll want to hug her and tell her I’ve missed her and I’ll promise to never do wrong by her again as long as she continues to help me right her story.
Because, after all, it is her story…not mine. I’m just here to write it down for her.
Earlier this summer I was lucky enough to find an amazing group of women who were gracious enough to let me join their critique group. I’d finished editing (well, as finished as I could get on my own) my current novel and was looking for someone to help me polish it up. What I found were five of the most talented and encouraging women I have ever known. Each one of them brings their own spice to the group and I am so honored that they have allowed me to read their heroine’s stories.
I share this with you because I know that some of them have been on the down part of the writing cycle and it can be lonely there. It’s like a wasteland where you crave words instead of water. But with the encouragement and support of other writers you can find that one word or one sentence that will shoot you right to the top again. The top of the writing cycle where your heroine has gripped you so forcefully that you couldn’t let go if you wanted to.So I dedicate this post to Erica, Lizzie, Rachel, Sydney & Valerie for writing down the stories of some incredible heroines and for being incredible heroines themselves.