The time, energy, and overall organization it takes to complete a novel is astounding to me. Doesn’t matter how brilliant the idea is, or how compelling the grammar and punctuation skills are, or even how riveting the first 20,000 words read … if an author doesn’t follow through until the end, then all the resulting efforts just sit in limbo without a “home.” It takes a special talent to see all the random, make sense of it, fill in all points between A and Z, then not only start the project, but finish.
Here is Gabrielle Evans to talk about how she works and what she does to make sure road blocks don’t get in her way.
Keep Moving Forward
I really wish I could be one of those authors who outlines, plans, and organizes before they start writing…but I’m not.
I lose my mojo and think maybe if I just sit down, close my eyes, and think, it will come to me. Not going to happen. I end up thinking about what to make for dinner. Did I remember to put the clothes in the dryer? Did I fill up the car yesterday? I wonder what’s going to happen on Tosh.0 tonight. You get the idea. I have to be sitting in front of my computer, fingers on the keyboard, and story in front of me before I can even think about what I’m working on.
I have to have a title! Even if it’s only a working title and I change it twenty times before I submit my manuscript, I have to have a point of reference.
Character names and physical descriptions are probably the only things I actually map out before beginning a project.
So, how does the chronically disorganized move forward when she encounters a roadblock? Especially, when what seems logical doesn’t always make the most sense or move the story forward fluidly?
Sometimes, for me, it’s as easy as skipping that particular scene. I know where the story is going. I know what’s going to happen in the next chapter, or even the next scene. So, I move forward, pick up the story later on in the chapter, and once I get things flowing again, become a little better acquainted with my characters, it’s not hard to go back and fill in the blanks.
When you’ve set a word count for yourself, and you come in just shy of that goal, it’s very tempting to insert another sex scene. Mostly it doesn’t work. There’s nowhere appropriate to place it. It interrupts the story. It seems out of character. There are a gazillion reasons why it’s a bad idea. Writing erotic romance, there is a fine line between sexy and sleazy. Sexy = good. Sleazy = well…sleazy. Mostly, I just try to be true to my characters and let things happen according to what seems realistic for their personalities and the storyline.
“You don’t bring me to life. You won’t leave me alone. I don’t need you tonight. No, you don’t, you don’t bring me…” — Bulletproof Messenger
How do I keep moving forward when my characters are being uncooperative?
I want them to do one thing. They want to do another. I think they should say a certain line. They disagree. So, at what point do I just let go and allow them to have their way? I’m stubborn, so usually not until I want to pull my hair out. Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) my characters can be just as stubborn.
They know what they’re doing, what they want, and how to get it. Sometimes, they’re fumbling through the whole relationship thing, but really want me to just leave them alone and let them find the way on their own.
So, how do I stop smothering them and bring them to life?
Well, there are a lot of things I could do, but I usually don’t. I try to trust my characters, not be anal-retentive, and let them lead me where they want to go. This is their story, after all—their triumphs, disappointments, challenges, joys, and sorrows. They are already very much alive, and my need to “fix” them isn’t going to do anything but piss them off and give me a lot of sleepless nights.
With that being said, thanks for having me here today! I hope no one is scarred from this little jaunt into my cluttered mind. Now, it’s time to get back to work on Seize the Night [Enchanted 2]. Emery needs my help, he just won’t admit it. 🙂
Gabrielle is offering up PDF’s of books 1-3 in her Sexually Awkward series. To enter, comment below about how you push deal with blockage. Are you a hammer-it-until-it-fits or a come-back-to-it-later kind of person?
Open until Thursday, September 20th at 11:59 pm (PST). One winner will be chosen and notified on Friday.