Method of My Madness

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There are aspects of writing that are absolutely without a doubt amazing, and then there are those that are bash your head against the brick wall till it bleeds frustrating.

No, I don’t mince words.

November is NaNoWriMo.  I don’t know if any of my constituents have  mentioned NaNo this year or not, I’ve been  pretty head down focused on my todo list for a while now. NaNo is  one of those double edged aspects of writing. It’s thrilling, exciting, while also being frustrating. NaNo is a good way to get the first draft down on virtual paper. I’ve taken a break from editing Valkyrie’s Curse,  my next book to work on  the next book after that for NaNo.

There are some who pants the whole thing.  I did my first year.  I had a concept,  an overall idea the first year that I did NaNo.  I was a newbie. All I knew was that I needed to write 50000 words by November 30th. Challenge accepted.  I did.  I wrote like the wind.  I actually wrote a large volume of work,  based on that initial concept. My rough draft crested at somewhere around 85000 words. Sadly,  I’ve thrown a large volume of that into the trash. It was good practice,  but unusable as it didn’t progress the story. Eventually,  I’ll get Kiss of the Dragon back out and work it over.

The second year I attempted NaNo, again I tried to pants it.  I got to around 24000 words and hit a wall.  I didn’t reach my goal. Regardless of the additional hours of work  at the day job, I just didn’t have my mojo to get the words down.  Then last year, an author shared her method with me on my own blog. EUREKA!  I hit gold!

About the time that I got lost in the catacombs of the green dragon’s lair, I decided that  outlining was the way I needed to go.  I had some basic ideas that I tried out on Kiss of the Dragon,  Faere Warrior, and Love Notes (all WIP’s that sit in my file drawer) but  they were too detailed.  I hear pantsers say that  outlining  takes the creativity out of writing. I guess that was it,  I had too detailed of outline. I had already  planned out the story, broken it into chapters, broken out the inciting incident, the climax, the reactionary incident, the  reversed response and it took the excitement out of the writing process.

The writing process is about creating.

Aedan is phenomenal with world building. I picked his brain. My friend Vicki is amazing at character development,  so I  picked her brain as well.  I sit and scratch my head wondering what, if anything, I do well.  I get stuck on that often, doubting myself, doubting the story, doubting my ability. Then  I  let  someone read a bit  here or there and the response is  often  a demand for more.  That’s a great feeling as a writer,  to have someone be excited for your prose.

So what do I do well?  What do I offer that someone else doesn’t? I knew the answer. I didn’t want to admit it but I knew and being in one of those doubting moods polled my writing friends.  Descriptions.  I am a descriptive writer. Painting word pictures by my descriptions so that the reader  visualizes and is drawn into the story.

I lost that when I over outlined. The writing became dry, formulaic, and *yawns*  boring. If I didn’t want to write it,  who would want to read it? So now we go back to Lazette’s method from last year’s NaNo.  30 days to write a story.  Essentially,  I break out the “outline” into 30 prompts for 30 days that are the skeletal structure of the entire story. I shared this in more detail on my own blog.

This is how I wrote Red Wine & Roses.  This is how I wrote Valkyrie’s Curse (which is  in revisions). This is also the method I used to break out another series that I have been working on for a while that Faere Warrior is a part of. I’ve tweaked Lazette’s method  to make it my own.

Valkyrie’s Curse was my NaNo novel from 2014. I won NaNo at 74000 words, but the story wasn’t complete. While revising,  I can add in the details and descriptives that were rushed during NaNo. It was in that process of revisions that inspiration struck me full force  and  it became clear to me that Valkyrie’s Curse was only part of the story. I even had an open ending for a sequel.

This year’s NaNo project  is a continuation of  the first, and my working title is Valkyries Curse: Trial of Aegir.  I’m stoked!  My skeletal outline with prompts allows me enough of a framework to keep me from chasing rabbits while having free reign to  be creative.

It may not work for anyone else, but it works for me. Isn’t that the  whole  idea in the first place?  To find what works for you, so that you can operate in your talents and skills to the best of your ability?  My best is yet to come!

My first piano recital was an embarrassment.  I stumbled over the keys, terrified of an audience of twelve people. My last piano recital was in front of over a hundred, and  I nailed it!  That’s what we do.  We practice our craft so we can nail it!

I intend to nail it  repeatedly. I need to go work on my wordage for today’s prompt: Paradise dreams and the giant serpent.

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Until next time,

Ellie

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