Thursday, October 16, 2014


First, my mea culpa.
My blogging habits have been terribly lax, and I am sorry.

 I allowed the summer, then a new WIP and then binge-watching the X-Files for the first time (yes, I'm pretty late to the game) to derail my blog.

Quite frequently, I've had a thought that made me say, "hey! That'd be a great blog post!" And then I do nothing about it. And suddenly another month has gone by.

So here I am, months before the official time to make new resolutions, resolving to be a better blogger.

Onward.... about change.

I've learned this lesson so many times, you'd think I wouldn't be so surprised by it. But this is the first time I've actually begun to acknowledge this truth as it applies to my creativity, not just my life.

When I was in college, I thrived in my major -- poli sci. Out of that rather broad inquiry, I created my own focus: feminist political (largely deconstructionist) theory. I planned to be a forward-thinking, ground-breaking lawyer.

My life was very meticulously planned out: go to Kenya to teach English for one year, come back and attend Boalt School of Law.

Hah. Because yanno, plans that specific always work out, right???????

So this is what ACTUALLY happened:

1) I fell in love with Kenya, for all its beauty and tragedy, and decided to extend my contract.

2) While there, I realized I was better suited to advocate for women by telling their stories. The way I saw it, both could be public service -- but I preferred the pen and its wider public forum to the courtroom.

So, 2 years in Kenya, followed by a Masters in Journalism, and my life looked nothing -- I mean, NOTHING -- like what I'd planned. And it was awesome.

Fast forward to today. Nearly 20 years in journalism, several stints as a teacher/professor/instructor of all things English and writing (and some politics and media thrown in for spice). I became a war bride and then a mother of two.

And I could no longer ignore the muse. She called gently, then firmly, then finally hit me over the head. I hadn't planned on this career step until the kids were older, until I could get some more sleep.


I'm working on my third book. My new WIP is a ghost story and I LOVE it. I am having so much fun writing it, it feels like I was BORN to write this book. I've planned and plotted it meticulously because it has a lot of moving parts and I want to be sure I don't get lost along the way.

Over the weekend, my characters hijacked the plan.
I mean, they TOOK OFF and went somewhere I had not plotted or planned.

Wait, what?

And it's not the first time this has happened to me. In fact, it has happened every single time, with each of my books.

Because things change.  Usually without warning.

I don't try to resist the change. I actually never did, in spite of how uneasy it made me -- so now I just have to learn to trust that, in my books, as in my life, my characters will take the lead and they'll do fabulous things. Unless they don't, but that's what revisions are for. (Which is so much nicer than real life, where you don't get that lovely, infinitely forgiving do-over).

Does change wig you out?
What do you do when your characters take over??

No comments:

Post a Comment