Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Writer's Life: Haunted by a Story (Rachel)

For most of September, I was feverishly writing the first of two novellas for my new series (clean romantic fantasy novellas featuring elves, gargoyles, and other fantastical creatures). My goal was to finish the first novella before headed out with my family on a road trip for vacation. But, as I typed my last few pages, concluding the story, the characters of the second novella began invading my headspace. So, despite my desire to go on vacation without any work hanging over me, I wrote on my vacation.

One of the joys and trials of a writer’s life is that one must follow the inspiration. True, one needs to be professional, write on a schedule, in season and out, and put the time in while one is inspired or not. However, occasionally a story idea comes along that blows all of your I-am-a-plotter-now plans out of the water. A shadow elf beckoned with an atmospheric flare, and I was off and writing like a pantser again.

So, how does one write while on a family vacation? For me, it was in dribbles and bits. Using my OneNote on my phone, I wrote in the long hours on the road when it wasn’t my turn to drive. I typed in the downtime between activities with the family. Also, I tapped away as I waited for my turn while we played Catan or other games with my siblings. Once, I opened my laptop and sat next to my hubby as he slept because I couldn’t rest because of the scenes parading through my head.

This comes with a caveat, though. Should you do this, don’t be rude. I worked hard to be present when my family was available. My phone disappeared when we played faster games or during conversations. The point of the trip was to be home, spend time with extended family, and enjoy each other. I sat and watched movies with my mom, sisters, brother, and kids. We played board games, video games, and card games. What can I say? We love games. But those down moments when everyone was busy with other conversations or activities, I was typing away on my phone or laptop.

So, did it work? According to my alpha reader, it did. She loves the story. I am less than five thousand words from the second rough draft in two months. All in less than a month despite vacation, homeschooling, and flaring from the trip. Not bad at all. I am very thankful that inspiration struck, though its timing left much to be desired.

How about you? Have you ever been haunted by a story or characters?

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