August 14, 2014 by Bella
For the last few weeks I've been carefully cultivating a garden. I began by preparing the soil while I planned where everything would go and planted the seedlings in their proper places. Then came the hard work of watering and weeding, holding my shears back when some of the plants grew in unexpected directions. I'm speaking metaphorically of course, because what I'm really describing is my writing process for the sequel to Inseparable.
I try very hard to plan my stories before I begin to write. It's in my nature to make plans. I often walk up and down the aisles of office supply stores and dream that the little tools and gadgets might make me more efficient. After years of writing I now recognize that my plans only last until I sit to write, then odd and wonderful things begin to happen.
It feels like my brain has two writing modes. One mode focuses on the larger plot arcs that take many chapters to realize. Imagine the gardener with clean hands, drawing out where the plants should go on a map. In my other mode, the gardener has dirty fingers and loves finding little earthworms and strange seeds in the soil. This is the mode where I write scenes and dialog, letting the characters speak through my imagination.
This story has taken me places I never expected to go. I've fallen in love with the characters as I always do, and I've given them little quirks to make them feel more real. As I write, I plant seeds that weren't in the plan for the story. Sometimes they are weeds that I end up pulling out. Other times, though... other times they grow into basil or mint or thyme and spice the story in wonderful, unexpected ways.
And then comes the day when I finally have a beautiful garden. It's rich and lovely, but the plants lacks character. Healthy gardens sometimes need strong winds and heavy rains, and today is the day my characters will be tested. I'm writing the the end of the second act. The antagonist has done his job well and Hurricane Bella is about to sweep through the plot.
At the end of the day my hero will believe his heroine betrayed him. My heroine will realize one casual comment has cost her everything. My supporting characters will be strained to the breaking point over secrets. The garden will be wrecked, but the story... ah, the story will be so much better for it.
I love planning and writing to create a beautiful story out of words. But my secret joy is the day I get the destroy it all, testing the characters to their limits and digging up the truth. This is the day I find out if their roots have grown deep enough to survive my winds and rain.
I can't wait to share this story with you!