Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

Writing in the cracks June 9, 2008

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 10:13 pm

(Image from the Gluten Free Goddess)

Yay! The story pot is starting to bubble again, enough that I can dip into it for some fifteen minute timed writings. It feels good!

I think my problems this weekend were a creative temper tantrum, “If I can’t have time to write properly I won’t write at all, so there!” But actually, I can’t not write, it hurts too much.

I fully intend to make some changes, find a way of living that allows me to place writing more centrally. In the meantime, I’ll write in the crevices and cracks, in the fifteen minute gaps.

Fifteen minutes before I get up. Fifteen minutes on the train. Fifteen minutes in my lunch break (note to self- make sure you take your lunch break!). Fifteen minutes at bedtime. Maybe that’s what making writing the core of my life really means. Finding those fifteen minutes, again, and again, and again.


4 Responses to “Writing in the cracks”

  1. Speak Coffee Says:

    That story pot is looking pretty tasty.

    I’m so impressed by your ability to steal those 15 minutes wherever you find them. I’m horrible at thinking I need big blocks of time. But at the same time the goodnews is that I have those big blocks of time as I am my only responsibility now (no kids, spouse, or big work projects).

    Glad to hear it’s cooking again!

  2. waitingforthecall Says:

    Hey Eiie, I took a long time sulking and drumming my feet that I couldn’t have more time to write before I managed to start using those little writing spaces effectively! I was doing it back in February when I wrote my competition entry, then I just seemed to lose it, and got so I could only write when I had a long chunk of time to play with (like all day!). Using little pieces if writing time does seem dependent on having a story cooking up that I can dip into- I like that metaphor. But what I realised with your PostSecret comment was that if I couldn’t write story because the story pot was cold I could still write, it didn’t have to be story, I could do fifteen minute timed writings or use prompts like the postcards. Somehow, just saying “If fifteen minutes is all I have, that’s okay; and if its not story, that’s okay too,” freed the story to come back again. I don’t understand how my brain works, but thanks for being the catalyst there- you really helped me!

    Yeah, definitely a lot of tasty stuff in the pot- this story is a lot of fun to write, I’m not sure it will ever get published though. I suspect it will be what the editors call a “hard sell”. The heroine is a nightclub singer, the hero is just out of jail for something he didn’t do. It doesn’t really fit with any of the series, apart maybe from Superromance. It may be more in the nature of a challenging writing exercise and a tool for learning my craft, never going to see the light of day as a book. The characters are loosely based on ones we worked up in a group at the Kate Walker workshop I went to a month ago, and they sat in my head telling me more about themselves and what happened to them, til I really had to write their story. They were the ones that popped up when I sat down to do a timed writing on a postcard (never got as far as even looking at the postcards!), so I went with them. We’ll see. I did a lot of work a couple of weeks ago developing the characters, but I still have my usual problem of a very strongly visualised heroine and a hero who is a bit less substantial, more fuzzy around the edges. I might try some collaging and see it that can help me get more of a hold on him. It’s not his looks as much as his motivation that is the problem though. He has two conflicting drives- one is an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and overprotectiveness of his mother and younger sister because of a promise extracted by his dying father when he was in his teens; the other is avoidance of taking on any additional responsibility and just being out for a good time, a work hard, play hard thrillseeking type of personality. His journey is to learn what true responsibility means, finding a different way of being with his sister and mother that allows them to grow up and take responsibility for themselves; while he needs to start taking responsibility for the consequences of his often impulsive actions, including his secret baby with the heroine. Anyway, I’ll just keep writing and see where it goes.

  3. Speak Coffee Says:

    Yea! Inspiration!

    This character of yours seems like the traditional bad boy – or at least the one we all dream of: bad but with a good heart!

    I’m floundering with my character development probably because I’m writing one paranormal type, and then trying to develop a second that has an ensemble cast which has gone from “so cool” to “I have to develop the pasts for how many heroes!?!?” in about a month’s time. LOL

    Like you said: I’ll just keep writing and see where it goes. (Hmm, I think I’m gonna write that line out on an index card and tack it over my computer, seriously.)


  4. Speak Coffee Says:

    hey …. where’d you go?

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