Breaking up is hard to do: letting go of, and finding love within your writing.
“But you two were so good together?” As you may or may not have noticed (I suspect my audience is largely imaginary at the moment) I am having some “time apart” from my WIP: Blood Like Water (BLW). Whilst it was good to have my writer’s crisis and get a new perspective on things it did mean I had to let some things go – for now. Like a hatchling, I had to break my shell in order to be born. To be honest, BLW was a bit of a shell.
I have always heard the saying “You have to love what you do.” I never quite understood that saying because it is hard to love what you do when you’re working as a data runner – what is that you say? Let’s just say it involves a lot of crawling under buildings, through trenches, mud, dead cats and spiders. SO. MANY. SPIDERS. But I think I came to understand this saying with Blood Like Water.
Like any writer I have a number of different stories I want to develop. But I was, initially, keeping those on the back shelf while I worked on writing exercises to hone my skills. I was doing this so I could do my beloved stories “justice” (yeah, I don’t quite know what that means but it sounded good and it was a very effective procrastination tool.) One of these writing exercises was BLW. However, this exercise turned into a story I wanted to develop. So, I did. However, the thing is, I wasn’t ‘in love’ with it.
Now, my Muse (I’ll introduce you to him some day, but not today) is a fiery, impatient and demanding task master. When I write a story I dream about it, find all my day dreams gravitating towards it. I have random sparks of inspiration that demand I pull over from driving and write them down. I will unconsciously find myself linking movies and television back to the plot. All the images and music I collect will unintentionally center around that one story. However, this wasn’t happening with BLW. I was writing it, but my Muse wasn’t present in the words. It was all me, which is fine, and good for learning, but it meant that I didn’t have the stamina or the will to force my way through difficult periods. In short, without my Muse I get lazy.
Whilst I was fiddling with BLW an idea for a new story (Rain) came to me in a dream (as always). The hero of this story was, in my dream, well, let’s just say the reason I am writing the novel “Rain” now is to try and just capture on paper what this hero was like. A very handsome and dark domme, with otherworldly-eerie gifts who is also kinda funny, witty, with good taste in ties and coffee, and who liked animals. I know? Nice one Dream-Cat high fives herself. Did I mention he was painfully handsome? And the heroine? Where do I begin? Actually, I wont because I like the mystery around her. Then there is the villain; a real nasty piece of work. Who doesn’t love a good villain? By the way, I am not trying to sell you on the book but rather, what you can see is, I loved one story (Rain) and was only mildly curious about the other (BLW).
It is precisely because I love Rain so much that I feel compelled to learn more in order to do it justice. In the few short weeks I have been working on Rain I have learned more than I ever did with BLW. That is not to say I wont come back to work on BLW, especially with the new tools under my belt (deep POV where have you been all my life?! I think being able to delve deeper with the right tools could really bring BLW to life.) However, as with most things, sometimes when you have worked on something so long the best thing you can do is to walk away and give it some breathing room. Work on something else and eventually come back to it. If it still sparks your interest, if you can find a seed of love in there, then pick it up again. If not, it is allllll good practice.
But I tell you what, I still have days where I think “I had just followed my heart this would have been a whole lot quicker.” But a) I wouldn’t have learned all the things I needed to learn b) all of these lessons brought me to a place where I was open to constructing the story Rain c) it was a great lesson in learning to break up with your own work.
I have included some of the resources that have helped me over the past few weeks below.
Story Physics: Harnessing the Underlying Forces of Storytelling
James Scott Bell
Jill Elizabeth Nelson
Angela Ackerman, Becca Puglisi