Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Monday, January 31, 2011

Where the Magic Happens...

So, I'm finishing up another run through Secrets of Skin and Stone and it's come together. The plot flows. The voice is there, and I can hear their voices in my head even when I'm not reading aloud. The characters are alive, and they've got emotions that keep tripping them up. Their weaknesses and insecurities are just bleeding off the pages... and you can almost touch the passion they feel for what they want. It's that Dr. Frankenstein moment where you hold your laptop in their air and shout "IT'S ALIVE!"

This is one of those times where I feel lucky... no... sorry... this needs, swearing, Mom, I feel damn lucky to be a writer.

As most of you know, there are two types of writers in general... there are pantsers and plotters. I'm one of those who writes by the seat of her pants. It starts with a scene getting in my head... the start of a story. In this case, it started with a single portion of a sentence....

"In the quiet hours following my dog's death...."

and the frustration that comes with OCD in which you have a constant stream of violent and awful thoughts in your head which make you sometimes wonder if you could have done something violent and terrible. I'd just read this short story about a gargoyle/grotesque and I'd thought... that's interesting but what if.... and a story was born.

If you're lucky enough to be a pantser, the magic happens all throughout the process. The story creeps into you and runs through your blood and you get to experience it all along the way. I don't usually know how it ends until I'm at least half-way through. Each time the plot moves forward with me typing away fast enough to light my fingers on fire... it's magic. When you finish off the story and it's worked... this crazy process of throwing things on the screen as fast as they drop into your head... and it's worked... it's impossible, and it's magic.

Normally, it's not quite as magical in revisions, I'll be honest. You've read it so many times that sometimes you add in a sentence thinking it belongs... only to find that sentence in the next paragraph. There are the commas that you push from place to place... and the descriptions that you just wish would write themselves. Sure, there is the feeling when it's all said and done that you've improved it... and that's good. This time, adding in the accent, it's definitely magical again. Maybe it's just how much heart I've put into this particular story... because I still cry when I'm reading it, and I'm still anxious to get to my favorite parts. I still love this story... even after my tenth revision. This manuscript is no longer a manuscript... and it might not even just be a story anymore... it's alive.

I might not ever be famous. I might not ever be published. Today, I'll do laundry and dishes... and when the kids come home, I'll feel a little underappreciated and I've got a lovely cold dragging me down and making piles of kleenex. I've got bills to worry over and my house needs to be cleaned. I swear, some days are a drudgery where you just plod on to the next one just because you know you have to. On the outside, I'm thirty-four and today I'm feeling every year of it. I'm a mother of two Special Needs kids, wife to a guy that loves me and works too hard and too many hours in order to be a good provider. I'm lousy at cleaning. I drink too much Mountain Dew.

On the inside, I've got OCD. I'm insecure. I'm not just a little irreverent and life strikes me as quirky more often than not. The only way I survive some of these days is with my sense of humor leading the battle. More importantly, for today anyway, inside I'm a writer. I'm not an author... an author is what the world calls you once they've gotten their hands on things. Inside, even authors are writers. Inside, I've taken something that was just words in my head a year ago and made it come to life. Inside, I swear to you, I'm magic.

You don't believe me? Here's proof:

In the hushed hours following my dog’s death, I knew I had to get out of the house. The house felt too full like there were ghosts in it, creeping around and sucking in the air before I could. If I closed my eyes, I swore I could hear them breathe. Their voices were always in my head, whispering around and filling it. I’d once told my parents about that… about the voices that spoke in my head. I was a little girl when I told them that. I’m not a little girl anymore.

I did that. I wrote that story. I made that. I'm magic, and it's alive. The wonderful thing about being a writer is that tomorrow... I'll do it again.


  1. I'm a pantser too (mostly). James Dashner wrote a blog post about why he loved the movie, Inception, that dealt with what you're talking about here. He said there is a line in that movie that perfectly describes the creative process for a discovery writer. Leonard DiCaprio says, "Dreams are created and perceived simultaneously." That's why we sometimes feel like we are "discovering" our story rather that creating it. It's an exhilarating process. I too feel lucky!!

  2. That's true and exactly how it is. I should have known Dashner would put it better than I could AND he used Inception. (I loved the movie Inception.) Darn it... Some people are just too brilliant.

  3. Hehe I'm definitely a panster too! And I love this post. If I could somehow favorite blog posts, this would be one of them!

  4. Thanks, Kaitlyn! And thanks for helping me beta this. You rock!!!! *hugs*

  5. I love the magic. Although I'm a plotter. I'm not one of those plotters who KNOW what's going to happen in all of the book, just one where I know what's happening in the beginning, in the middle, and definitely know the ending. (It drives me crazy not to know the ending.) But what happens in between? or even major plot points? Don't know.

    <333 love the magic. love this post.