Remember Why You’re Writing

Posted: November 10, 2014 by writingsprint in Nanowrimo
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Risha held him in her arms afterward. A cigar burned slowly in the ashtray on the side table, next to the best whiskey they had and a box of fine chocolates that she’d been saving for a special occasion. He kissed her shoulder. She smiled. He stayed there and nestled his face against hers. There was more going on than just a kiss.

1,771 words tonight. I made up another hundred on where I need to be. If I can keep this up, I’ll be back on schedule by the end of the week!

Some of the writing I’ve been doing lately has been adapted from little one-shot scenes that I wrote a long time ago, that I either did just for fun or which were meant for another book. As I read them it struck me how much better the writing was in those scenes than what I’ve been doing lately. What was missing? Honest to God, it was love. This is what happens what you’re focused more on the finish line than enjoying the scenery where you are. Tonight I wrote more patiently. I picked the characters in my heads using old friends for actors. Instead of pounding away through the plot, I took a stroll through how the characters felt in that moment. It paid off. To my fellow Nano writers, I say enjoy the words. Swim in the language. Wax poetic for no reason at all. Maybe you’ll keep it that way, maybe you won’t, but we’re here for fun.

Super shout-out to Fredrik Kayser for talking about our discussion on character playlists at his blog! For those who missed it, I like to make iTunes playlists about stories I’m writing or characters in those stories to give me a better feel for who they are. Risha graduated from the college of hard knocks. She grew up a princess, so she’s educated, and has better taste than most of the people around her now. She’s also nobody’s fool. Here are some samples from her playlist:

“Soul Dredging” by Future Rhythm Foundation. I see this playing in the background while she plans a gig — which is to say a smuggling job or a robbery.

“Stop This World” by Diana Krall. I liked the groove. It plays up Risha’s sophistication.

“De Novo Adagio” by Alicia Keys. Risha plays piano. I see her playing something like this, maybe in the third book, when thousands of lives hang in the balance, and the responsibility weighs on her shoulders.

“Medicine” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Risha has what those of us from Philly call “attytood.” That’s “attitude” in bold italics. Capital letters if you’re not paying attention. She’s got the medicine that everybody wants, and the galaxy’s about to find out.

  1. Fredrik Kayser says:

    Some pretty sweet tunes! I especially like Soul Dredging and Medicine. It’s easy to lose track in the midst of all the details, I’ve caught myself digging deeper into technicalities and forgetting the essence of my story more often than I’d care to admit. Rediscovering those moments where you love what you’re writing feels damn good, great reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alex Grover says:

    “Instead of pounding away through the plot, I took a stroll through how the characters felt in that moment. It paid off.”

    That’s so great! I’ve totally found the same in my own writing. Sometimes I’m in a plot point and I just want to get out, but the characters suffer for it. I write best when characters are just talking, advancing the storyline while, more importantly, materializing more for the reader. Super, super post (and nice touch adding the music!)

    Liked by 1 person

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