Just Like That! (How I went from being bored with my MC to can’t stop writing)

At nearly fifteen thousand words in, and at the cusp of the first big turning point for my story, I lost my will to move forward.

Often when I am writing I struggle not to rush right into the first big revelation or turning point, where things start to unfold, make sense, and get juicy. I can feel myself breathing into the turns, gripping the wheel (er, pen…ok, keyboard) to maintain a smooth transition from introduction of key characters to revealing the belly of the story.

I could not wait to get from “this is Sue” to “see Sue run”. I even gave myself permission to cut some of the background stuff out, figuring I could add it later in dialogue, etc. But dammit if I didn’t start bringing in the good stuff and find myself hating the content!

I’ve experienced writer’s block before, but this was more along the lines of a lack of interest in my main character. I was writing too many words without feeling and it was crippling my normal urges to keep going. This bummed me out because I had been waiting for several months to even begin this story…

So here is what I’ve done, and it has been like a new fire in my spirit: I changed the p.o.v. of my story. From conception, I was determined the story needed to be told in 3rd person. I hadn’t been able to imagine it in any other way. But this morning I saved a copy of my original story then did a “find & replace” of all the times I used the MC’s name and replaced it with “I”. And so, first person it is!

I now have the task of changing all the pronouns to match my new first person modification, but while doing so I am hearing the story in a completely new light. And since I like to do revisions every ten pages or so, it gives me the chance to make them with a fresh pair of eyes.

I now feel more in tune with my MC. I’m also not worrying about head hopping, as I am tempted to do when I write in 3rd person.

I hope this provides a tip for you to try the next time you find yourself suddenly without interest in your main character. Since this particular story entails yucky things, I will enjoy the challenge of working through them as I write from “I” and not “she”. I don’t know about you but it’s played tricks on me in the past when I find it difficult to make my characters do things I wouldn’t personally do.

What do you do to fall in love with your characters again?

**Featured image photo credit to Bongkarn Thanyakij**

Phoebe Waller-Bridge: Killing Eve, Fleabag, Crashing…

I’m just going to say it here…I frigging love her work! Tonight, season 3 of Killing Eve started (don’t worry, no spoilers here), and I am beyond excited.

After watching S.3-E1, all I can say is, “Holy sh@t, I didn’t see that coming!”

As a writer, I can’t help but to obsessively watch, re-watch, break down, over analyse, and then desperately try to find someone to discuss characters with. And I’m not one who reads or watches a broad range of books/movies – well…I might be able to say I watch a broad range of movies, but I definitely don’t read as much as I wish I was read. Like, I wish I was really well read, but sadly, I’m not... I am working on it though.

With that said, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed attempting to break down the many faces of Villanelle. And by faces, I mean literally. Jody Comer is masterful at expressions. Between heartless and hopeful lies a rainbow of moods that switch in a blink by a simple movement of her eyebrow, the tiniest flinch of her mouth, the sudden watering of her eyes. And speaking of eyes, Sandra Oh would never have to speak another word and could still get her message across.

I’m not here to review Killing Eve. I’m simply here to express how brilliant the show is and to exclaim my super happiness to have season 3 with us! And to express my love for Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s masterful mind!! You are my writing shero. Rock on, sis!

Q-Day 15: What’s Changed?

I’ve officially been holed up for fifteen days and decided to make an assessment of my accomplishments (if any) as far as goals I set out for myself. And my current state of mind.

As I write this, the lights are literally blinking as a howling wind calls from outside my window: There’s a new storm in town. I have now plugged my computer in to make sure I am fully juiced in case I lose power for a spell. Coffee sure tastes better when there’s a good storm out. Hmm, I like that line. I’ll have to use it sometime…

The first thing I did when I learned I wouldn’t be returning to the barber shop where I cut hair for the next 20, then 40 days, was buy five books. I also began to outline a story that I’ve been waiting to begin while I was finishing up my novel, The First Love. I told myself that I would read these five books and by doing so would learn more about how to structure my own stories.

Structuring things like when to indent after someone speaks. If one person says something, then a second person does an action, is the second person’s actions given a new paragraph? Is it added just after the first person’s comments? Does it go on a new line but not indented? I used to know these things so well, but after a bazillion years of being out of school–and a touch of menopause–I no longer remember. (sigh)

Ok, so back to my goals (and does anyone care?)… I read three of the five books, began my story, and yet I feel no better off than when I started.

What I am beginning to fear is how I will respond to going back to my life of waking and working by an alarm clock and only writing during a blocked off time. And what about the eight pounds — EIGHT FRIGGIN POUNDS — I put on already? How embarrassing is that? I ate so much ice cream in the first week/ten days that my stomach hurt for three days after. Talk about comfort eating…

Assuming we get off of quarantine at the end of April, I have 20 more days to prepare myself for returning to work, living once again in a structured time controlled money obsessive lifestyle. Seriously, how many of you are trying to figure out how to make your current situation work out long term?

If only I could come out on the other side of this thirty pounds lighter, my arms and legs toned, and a beautiful tan. Oh and a letter of acceptance from a literary agent who adores my new book…