Somebody take me away, I’m stuck in hyperbole hell. Who said making your dreams come true was easy and effortless? It couldn’t have been me; I’m having a hard time of it. That’s not to say I haven’t already had my dreams come true. I have. But keeping the dream alive, to borrow an expression, is the hard part. For example, I’m writing another novel. It’s hard. It’s not speeding toward ‘The End’ in any way, shape, or form. I’m having trouble fleshing out my characters and laying the plot down the way I want it. I can’t decide who will be my antagonist and who will be the hero. At this point, both are interchangeable. Not good. Maybe. I don’t know, I’m confused. So many stories in my head! Have you heard that saying that has been going around facebook “I try not to listen to all the voices in my head, but some of them actually make sense” ? That’s me. I know what the novel is going to be about. I’m pretty sure I know the direction I want it to go. And I even have some scenarios worked out in my head. Getting from the first sentence to the last one is the problem. I have notes jotted down in my own special shorthand in every corner of every room, and even in the bathroom, my purse, and my car. Some I can read, some I can’t. “Don’t forget the balloon” and “Body in the woods” and “Is she crazy or is she faking it?” I got those covered, but when it comes to some of my notes, I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote them.
Who can relate?
I am what some in the writing world call a pantser. I write by the seat of my pants instead of methodically plotting out the story line from beginning to end. Some writers even outline each chapter before they write it. I can’t do that because I never know from one writing session to the next where my story is going. The characters take on a life of their own. They do what they want to do and I have no say in the matter. Take my last novel for example: Secrets of the Old Ladies’ Club. Regina, Donna, Stella, Bethany, and Cicely came to life for me. I really miss them now that the book is finished and published. My old friends, bless their hearts. How I wish they could come have coffee with me one more time! (You know I’m joking, right?)
The good thing about being a pantser is what makes it so complicated. It’s ok with me that the story takes twists and turns as it pleases. Think about it. It’s like reading a book at the same time it’s being written. Now, that’s fun. But it ain’t eeeeas-sy!
The more I read, the more I want to read. There are so many dang good books out there! I wish I could tell my late mother how much I appreciate her love for books and how she inspired me to read. She gave books to me for Christmas and birthdays. I remember the Nancy Drew Mysteries and later, a whole series of Janice Holt Giles. Mama had a ton of books lining the shelves on one whole wall in her house. I think she kept every one she ever bought. I wish I could say the same! Mama liked to write too, but she never had anything published. She wrote short stories about her childhood which wasn’t easy either. In fact, how she gleaned those darling stories from her awful childhood is a mystery to me. She didn’t have enough confidence in herself to write a book or share her poetry, so she wrote letters to her mom and sisters. We moved a lot when I was a kid so she considered it her job to keep the rest of her family up to date about where we were living and what it was like there. Mama’s descriptive letters were akin to painting a picture. They were awesome. Too late, I realized, so was she. I think I want to create a character in my work-in-progress just for her, her name, and everything. She will be a short, red-headed, fiery tempered, out-spoken, opinionated, kind, generous, God-loving, insecure woman with lots of good advice whether you want to hear it or not. Um, yeah. We have a lot in common. But anyway, when the book is finished and published, I will dream about her, along with Regina, Donna, Stella, Bethany, and Cicely, and we will all have coffee together and laugh and laugh and laugh.