I absolutely love interacting with the wonderful people who read my words. Readers of my books, readers of this blog, readers of my many Twitter and Facebook updates…they’re all so important to me. I like knowing that what I’m writing about is relevant to someone, somewhere. I like knowing that through my words, I am able to heal bits of myself as well as other people, and provide an “insider look” at what’s happening up in this big old brain of mine.
It’s a cool feeling. I absolutely adore it, which is why I do it.
Another part I absolutely adore is when people ask me questions, and not just because it provides me with topics to write about on those days when my creative tank feels quite empty. (Okay, so that’s probably the main one, but I also love the feeling that somebody wants to know that about me, providing it isn’t some inappropriate question about how I like my sausage, ya dig?).
I had a reader (and dear, dear friend) fire out these wonderful questions at me today, and I thought…oh goodie! I’ve been meaning to blog about these topics for a while now. So, here goes it…
How do you combat writer’s block?
I keep writing. It doesn’t matter if what I’m writing isn’t relevant to what’s given me writers block, but keeping a constant stream and steady flow of words helps combat it. Sometimes I do fun exercises; like I write about some random scene involving the characters that isn’t relevant to the book, just to “get to know them” a little better. In fact, I’m planning on doing one in a bit here. Remember in Consumed when Harlow mentions she refuses to ever set foot in a spa again, after the one time that Jenna dragged her? Well, I’m going to write that scene because I’ve been battling a case of writer’s block over the third Collide book. I’ll pick a mentioned subject from the book that the characters briefly touched upon, then I’ll elaborate it. Sometimes, it’s used as an “extra goodie treat” in the newsletter too, and it helps me get reacquainted with the characters with a slower, more intimate pace.
How do you deal with things when your characters go on hiatus and temporarily stop talking to you? Does it stress you? Do you just run with it?
I sleep on it, I reflect upon the core problem, and I do those little exercises. If something won’t come to me, it’s because I haven’t thought of it…yet. I’ll write other scenes, and what I’m stuck on eventually comes back at me like a boomerang and smacks me upside the head.
What’s the longest you’ve gone with a block?
I struggled with writing Damaged Goods, partly because I knew how it was going to end, and frankly…I didn’t want to go there. It was a story that drudged up a lot of painful memories (aren’t all high school memories painful in some capacity or another?). It usually takes me about four months to write the first draft of a novel, but it took me the better part of a year to write Damaged Goods. I put it on hold and wrote Consumed. When I came back to it, I had a refreshed outlook and was able to align everything perfectly and finish it, despite the painfulness of it. Reckless Abandon came so damn quickly, because it’s the sequel and I also knew where I wanted to take it and it wasn’t as hard because the end result wasn’t as painful for me.
Have you ever scrapped characters because they simply won’t talk to you anymore?
I don’t give up on people, even the people I make up for my stories. I have a lot of plans for each of them, and some of them are not easy to write about. Take Jenna Burke from the Collide series, for example. She’s tough to write about based on her experiences alone, but she will get her own story one of these days and it will be marvelous. In the mean time, until that story comes to me with ease, I’ll focus on the other things on my plate and do some research about her situation. I don’t give up, so that simply isn’t an option…but some great things do take time and I’d rather take a lot of time than rush something and give a character a shit story.
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Now, as I said…I really love interacting with everyone. I want to know… what do you want to know? It can be about me in general, about my books, about my Multiple Hereditary Exostoses/Depression/Anxiety, or about raising two kids with disabilities, or having two crazy ass dogs…anything, really. Ask and I’ll answer!