Bookmail Friday and the Return to Pantsing

I barely got to write anything today. Maybe three lines and that was it, all because after buying model cement for my son’s Rebel Titanic model that I need to assemble (because I didn’t realize the darn thing was advanced and my poor kid was not ready to assemble it himself), I got into a cleaning kick. And I mean, cleaning KICK, but only for one little corner of the house (so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed).

I unplugged all the stereo equipment and Bose speakers we haven’t used in at least three years, dusted and vacuumed everything in sight and then plugged the remaining electronics back on for that corner. The stereo equipment and those Bose speakers will have to go somewhere but for now, probably the garage until I can schedule a pickup with the Vietnam veterans group.

Then I took a shower and got ready to pick the kid up from school, walked the dog and then found these two books in the mail, the first of which is Phil Kaye’s who along with Sarah Kay, recited that amazing poem When Love Comes that I posted here.

It’s no secret I love poetry but interestingly, when I post poetry-related stuff on my author social media, there’s no interest. And I get it. Readers read my stories, not my poetry or my gushing posts about loving poetry or other poets. But it’s part of who I am and it’s also the language that I miss in the stories that I currently write.

In my attempt to write like other people, follow an outline, and basically writing to market because I’ve seen how successful others have been doing it, I’ve lost sight of the language—the words words words—that made me fall in love with prose in the first place.

And that’s why I’ve gone back to pantsing—writing by the seat of my pants. After spending so much money on books and courses the last year and a half on how to outline and realizing how miserable I am writing my books because I’ve gotten too critical of every one of my character’s motives or problems and just plain not having fun, I’m going to back to writing like I’ve always done. When you end up hating your heroes and heroines because they’re not sticking to the “outline” or they’re just stiff because you’ve forced them to mold to the outline, you have a problem. I applaud people who can do that and write 15 books a year. I just found myself too miserable writing even one.

Now the other book that arrived today is Diné Masculinities: Conceptualizations and Reflections by Lloyd Lee, Ph.d. If you’ve seen my latest cover reveal from yesterday, you’ll probably figure out why I ordered this one. I don’t really need it but I’ve always been a lifelong learner and I always ask “why.” And while I can easily write Sarah and Benny’s story and put in all the sex in there to fill the spaces, I need to fall in love with my heroes and heroines once again and let them tell their story while I follow along with a pen and paper and write furiously every word they tell me. I got a taste of that again when I wrote Campbell and Caitlin’s story last year.

When I was writing Ashe–and–Riley’s and Dax–and–Harlow’s stories, I used to write a chapter or two and then head to bed excitedly because I’d process those chapters in my sleep. When I woke up, I’d rush to my laptop to continue writing, trying to catch that feeling from the night before. It was like a drug and if I outlined, it was only toward the end when I knew I had to tie every loose end I’d presented earlier in the story. I haven’t experienced that feeling in a while, but I did when I started Sarah and Benny’s story.

And boy, was it a magical feeling.

Like being home again.

One thought on “Bookmail Friday and the Return to Pantsing

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