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A Demon’s Tale New Excerpt Celebrating 50K NaNoWriMo

While the novel is nowhere near done, I have finished the 50K required to complete NaNoWrimo, and I’m very excited to say that Magda Gardener’s world, and the world of the Guardian are just as much fun as they always are.

 

To celebrate my completion of NaNoWriMo’s 50K requirement, I’m sharing a new excerpt from A Demon’s Tale. I’d like to share with you a pivotal scene in which the two characters around which the novel revolves meet. The Guardian, you already know, but I’d like to introduce you to Elise North, whom you may remember from the first person accounts with Daniel Sands. Mr. Sands story is one for another time, however. For the moment,Private Investigator, Elise North, has a new client, and that client happens to be a demon. Please remember, this is a work in progress, so be gentle.

 

A Demon’s Tale: Chapter 7 Not What I Expected

“You’re not what I expected,” Elise North said when dear Reese shook her hand, and I felt her delicious warmth and the delightful callouses that told me the woman did more with her hands than research on a computer. She wielded weapons. I had not existed as long as I had without coming to recognize that exquisite feel. And in spite of my incarceration, in spite of the impossibility of my situation, I lusted, I lusted to feel the delight of her more deeply, knowing that even if I were free to do so, I could not. That she was somehow, inexplicably, beyond my reach made me lust all the more. All of the longing, all of the hunger that had driven me, that was my nature for as long as existence had been mine, rushed through me with such force that I forgot myself, only for an instant, and in my exuberance, in my lust, I threatened to overwhelm poor dear Reese. It was the sudden surge of blood in his veins, the shocked sensation of muscles forced to tense unexpectedly that brought me back to myself, brought me back to that horrid, human sense of guilt that haunted me these days more often that one such as myself would care to admit. And the lovely Elise North, though somehow she knew full well what I had just done, was not even slightly alarmed by my behavior. I, on the other hand was embarrassed, even humiliated that I had behaved more like a dog after a bitch in heat that a being who had seen eternity unfold and forgotten long ago exactly his own beginnings. Horrified, I whispered my apology to a confused, even slightly frightened Reese, who gratefully took the seat the dear woman had offered in front of her battered desk.

 

“I was unaware that the demon had any freedom of movement beyond the confines of Susan Innes’ body,” she said as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

 

And Reese, dearest Reese blushed at that, but he quickly added, “I suppose you could consider me the prison annex.”

 

“And you’re a vampire,” she said, holding Reese’s gaze. The poor man was very uncomfortable, for ours was both a secret and a cover-up of a secret. I encouraged him, then to ask the woman just how much she knew, for I too was surprised at the depth of her knowledge.

 

“I know a vampire when I see one.” She nodded outside her window to the deepening night. “Most of my clients contact me during regular business hours, though I once had a strange ghost who insisted I meet him at the stroke of midnight in the New York Public Library.” She shivered. “You’d be amazed how creepy the place is after dark.”

 

“You had a ghost for a client?” Reese asked. How I love the man’s delicious curiosity.

 

“Several, actually.”

 

“And how do they pay you?”

 

She smiled a very playful sort of smile that I found I liked very much, then she kicked her booted feet up onto her desk and leaned back in her chair. “Well, some of them have other, more valuable forms of currency, but it’s not that uncommon for them to have a large stash hidden away that no one living knows about. Often they want me to find it for a loved one or for a cause they meant it for before they died, and then it’s just a matter of allowing me to take my cut off the top.” Again that delicious smile, and this time I was certain it was aimed at me as much as dear Reese for the charming Elise North was as aware of my presence as if I sat in the chair next to Reese. “I really don’t appreciate being paid in pirate’s gold or heirloom jewels. While they’re incredibly valuable, you can’t imagine the hoops I have to jump through to turn them into a currency I can use.”

 

“Do you not wish to keep those that are more rare?” In my excitement to work with this woman, I completely forgot that dear Reese had not given me permission to use his voice, and he covered his mouth in surprise as though he had suddenly belched rudely in gentile company. While I apologized profusely, and silently, for the breech, the delightful Elise North only gave us a knowing smile.

 

“I’ve kept a few, even donated a couple on occasion to museums, anonymously, of course.” She righted herself and rolled her chair closer to her desk, folding her hands in front of her, suddenly all business. “Now, gentlemen, what can I do for you.”

 

This time without so much as a word between us, dear Reese stepped back and gave me control. “You wished to speak to Susan Innes enough to come to her book signing last night,” I made no effort to change Reese’s voice, when I was in control, it was always obvious that it was I who spoke. “While I am not entirely sure of your reasons for desiring to question dear Susan, I believe that you might be useful to me, and in being useful to me, you may do her a far greater service than I can say.”

 

Elise North studied us carefully, and I had no doubt that for some reason, this woman was looking at me, truly seeing me rather than Reese Chambers. The sensation was one new to me, one I found more disconcerting than I would have thought for one who had so longed for all things that wearing flesh entailed. It was at that moment I realized that the flesh I wore, no matter whose it was, I wore like a mask, a cover-up, a veil behind which to hide myself. This was not a discovery that pleased me, for it smacked of human frailty, of human neuroses, and I was, after all, not human.

 

Just when I was beginning to become uncomfortable with her intent gaze, just when I was tempted to step back and let dear Reese take control once more – such a cowardly act to consider under the circumstances – Elise North tilted her head slightly and drummed strong fingers against the desk blotter. “And Susan Ennis Doesn’t know that her demon is on a field trip.”

 

“I wish her not to know.” I said, “for I fear her response to what I must tell you if I am to help her. I have gained a modicum of trust from the dear woman, trust I value, and what is now my tale to tell could cost me that trust. But if it will ease her suffering, stop our foe from harming her, then I will do what I must. And I believe you may be of assistance because you cannot be affected by magic.”

 

She offered that teasing smile of hers again, and I found myself growing fonder of the dear woman by the moment. “By your foe, I assume you’re talking about Richard Waters, AKA Poseidon.”

 

Even with me in control of Reese’s body, we nearly fell off the chair. “You know about him?” In my state of surprise, Reese wrested control from me.

 

“I know about him, yes, and I know about how he and his son, Cyrus Rivers, or Polyphemus, I believe was his Greek name, tried to infiltrate our world to allow the Olympians to take control once more.”

 

“And you believe it?” Reese asked. Before she could answer he was out of the chair hands resting on the desk, looking down at her. “What do you know about it? Who told you?”

 

“My client’s name is confidential, as yours’ will be,” she said calmly, as though the fact a vampire glaring down at her didn’t bother her one bit. Even though dear Reese could not have glamoured her or used any vampire tricks on her, his vampire strength was not magic, and that combined with the strength of a demon inside him, surely the woman had to know we could crush her like an insect, and yet I smelled no fear on her. I smelled nothing on her at all.

 

“While I had in mind to question Susan Ennis,” Elise North said, nodding for Reese to sit back down, which he did, with a little extra encouragement from me, “I knew instantly she wouldn’t speak to me. I knew something other than the events of the Grey Goose Tunnel was bothering her. But I also knew instantly that if I waited long enough, her prisoner would find a way to contact me.”

 

“And it doesn’t frighten you, that I am a demon?” I asked, once again in control.

 

She blinked, and I realized that her eyes were the color of brown sugar heated just to the melting point. “Of course it frightens me. I know that while your magic may not affect me, the physical strength you lend to a human, let alone a vampire, could crush me or so much worse,” and then the wicked smile was back on her face, “that’s why I’m so expensive to hire.” She rolled her eyes. “You have no idea just how much my insurance premiums are.”

 

And once again dear Reese took back control with a belly laugh in which I utterly delighted. The feeling of good humor, of laughter, of a joke shared, all of those sensations are new to me. As Susan Ennis often tells me, I need to work on my sense of humor, and yet Elise North, I understood, though I did not know how that could be, since technically the woman was by far more human, more mundane than any I had ever meant.

 

“Tell me what you need from me,” she said again when the room became quiet.

 

“The sea god has found a way into my dear Susan’s dreams, I fear, and try though I might, I cannot protect her from him. He tells her lies, he tells her she is his daughter, he tells her that her mother was his lover, and I am forced to watch helplessly as he torments her. It is only the witch Glinda who is able to free her, and I do not know how.” I blurted all of this out as though I had vomited up all of my shame and horror onto her desk.

 

“Wait a minute, Glinda, as in the Wizard of OZ, that Glinda?” she asked.

 

“So I am told, though I do not know this pop culture reference and I am assured that this is but the name she shares with others while keeping her true name secret.”

 

“That makes sense,” the dear woman said, and her brilliant eyes held my gaze and studied me as though I sat there naked and shed of Reese Chambers’ flesh.

 

The planes of her face became like granite as she stared and stared and studied and studied, and I, in my nebulous place inside Reese Chambers, squirmed and writhed in my discomfort. For one who has lived an eternity, it is strange that a matter of a few seconds can seem longer still, and yet so it was as we waited for Elise North’s response.

 

“You want me to infiltrate Susan Ennis’ dreams and drive Poseidon out?”

 

“You are immune to his magic, as apparently I am not. Or if perhaps you could find this Glinda and we could work with her to find a way to shut the sea god out.” I said.

 

“I don’t see how I can do any of this without Susan Ennis’s permission,” she said. “Besides, dreams aren’t exactly magic. They’re much harder than magic. I have no idea how I could get inside someone else’s dream, even if I am immune to the magic happening there.”

 

“What about a succubus? I know you’re immune to her magic, but is there some way she might be able to help you?” Reese asked.

 

She shook her head. “She can’t infiltrate my dreams because what she does is magic.”

 

“Can you infiltrate mine then,” I asked without thinking. “Susan has always visited me in my dreams, for it would have been a violation for me to visit hers. I visited Reese only in dire need of his help, feeling that he would understand the violation, which he has. But Susan is my home, her dreams are only open to me when she comes to my dreams. There is an overlap that I cannot explain, and yet it exists, perhaps because of our unique circumstances, but perhaps you could infiltrate my dreams, Elise North, perhaps that is our way in.”

 

She cocked her head and her short pale hair was like a halo around her face in the harsh florescent lighting. “Infiltrate a demon’s dreams? And how do you propose I do that?” There was no judgment, no accusation in her voice, only curiosity.

 

“Through your own dreams, of course, for that is how Susan enters.”

 

She stroked her chin and pursed her lips. “Well, I do dream very vividly. I’ve even had some luck with lucid dreams. Perhaps that’s due to my immunity to magic, I don’t know, but I suppose it’s worth a try.”

 

It’s NaNoWriMo Time with an Excerpt from A Demon’s Tale

Yup! I’m actually doing NaNoWriMo this year, and very excited about it I am too!  This is the first time I’ve participated in a couple of years. For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, which is every November. The challenge is to write a 50K word novel in a month. While my novels are always well over 50K, to be able to get that much done in a month means enough momentum to carry on to the end.

 

I’ve had the pleasure of participating in NaNoWriMo several times when my schedule has allowed it. Those times have resulted in Body Temperature and Rising, book One of the Lakeland Witches Series, The Tutor, which is a contemporary erotic romance, and a SciFi novel called Piloting Fury, which I’m still rewriting and deciding upon a home for.

 

This year I’m writing another novel in the Medusa Consortium series. This novel is a story readers have asked for, it’s the Guardian’s story, A Demon’s Tale. With the Guardian’s permission, here is a rough excerpt from Day One of NaNoWriMo and the prologue of the novel. Enjoy.

 

Guarding Her Sleep: Excerpt from A Demon’s Tale

He watched her sleep, something that he did every night, something that, until very recently, he had enjoyed immensely, for there was always the possibility that when she slept, she would dream, and perhaps in those dreams, she would visit him.  Truly, he treasured those visits. They were a time of getting to know her, of learning to understand her a little better so that he might become a more suitable companion, might better realize what behavior would be most pleasing to her.

 

In truth it was only in dreams that his constant, though unavoidable, presence was not a violation, however unintentional that violation might be. In the beginning, it mattered less, in the beginning when he was still angry at her for what she had done to him. But the anger was nothing compared to the mourning at the loss, her loss, what she had done to herself because of him. Mourning, such a very human experience, one of which he could not have imagined himself capable. And yet he had mourned, had hated it, had raged against it, that thing that made no sense to him, that loss that was so needless, that terrible, irreversible loss for which, in his solitude, to his horror, he came to realize he was fully to blame.  Blame had always been a thing he had thrust upon others, never a thing he had felt himself, never a thing he could have understood until she did what she did, until she made the sacrifice she had made. Because of him.

 

It was in dreams that he had slowly come to realize his need for her forgiveness. It was in dreams that slowly she began to give it. It was in dreams that, for the very first time, he found himself wondering at his true nature, doubting just how well he understood it even after so very long. It was in dreams that he could sooth her, comfort her, and he knew better than anyone just how very hard she battled to heal, to learn how to live now that she had been changed, to come to grips with her own losses and to fight for the protection of those she loved. The knowledge of what she brought to him in dreams, of the weight she bore in no small part because of him meant the guilt that he thought he could never feel was his constant companion driving him to seek redemption in pleasing her, in being useful to her. The irony of it all was not lost on him – a demon seeking redemption. How often had he wondered if perhaps he only dreamed such insanity. And yet when she came to him in dreams, he wanted nothing so badly as to be redeemed for her sake. When she came to him in dreams, he believed that perhaps in time, she would forgive him and come to feel more kindly toward him.

 

Yes, he had anticipated her dreams, longed for them and now, as he watched her sleep, he fervently hoped that she would not dream, at least not that kind of reality wrapped within a dream that had brought her to him. For to his horror, dreams were the one thing from which he could not protect her. The very thought made him frantic, made him rage, that he was so helpless against a violation greater than any he had ever committed in all his years. When these dreams came upon her, he could not free her, he could not protect her, he could only watch impotently while her worst nightmare grew into a reality he could not stop.

 

That the one who had come to her aid seemed as invisible, as incorporeal as he was
did not ease his worry, for the one who called herself Glinda was unknown to him. While everyone believed her trustworthy, he did not know her, he did not understand how she was able to pull his dear Susan from the depths of the nightmare when he, who was her constant and intimate companion could not, when he, whose power Susan and her companions had called upon with confidence could only watch her suffering. Who was this Glinda? Who was she that she could stand against the gods themselves and why did he find that even as he was grateful for what she had done for his dear Susan, he hated her that she could do for her what he could not.

 

Sex Magic and Creativity

I’ve been asked many times if I believe that sex magic is real. My answer was
something along the lines that I believe sex is the only kind of magic, and certainly the only kind of magic we all have access to. But the question itself gets me thinking every time about why the paranormal and the erotic work so well together. With NaNoWriMo about to begin and with me about to begin another Medusa’s Consortium novel, I suppose now is as good a time as any to talk about sex as magic again. In fact with Halloween only two days away and with the main character of the next Consortium novel being the Guardian, a demon that feeds on sex, I’d say the time is ideal

 

Writing always exposes us, though that exposure is sometimes more obvious than others. As I thought about the question, I realized that the choices I’d made when I wrote the Lakeland trilogy were very much my psyche’s way of doing the full Monte. I’ve written lots of blog posts about the magic of sex, about what happens when we cross that final barrier and get inside the skin of another person, about what happens when we make ourselves vulnerable. Though it certainly wasn’t a conscious part of my decision, choosing to make the witches of the Elemental Coven practitioners of sex magic speaks very powerfully of my writing credo and of my own psyche and what I believe is important.

 

I started writing erotica mostly to see if I could, and because I had always enjoyed writing sex scenes. But it was the magic of sex that kept me writing. It was what the act of sex revealed about my characters and how it exposed them, all of them, in one way or another to the magic of sex that kept me writing. Somehow sex brought them closer to their humanity while at the same time increasing the chance they would experience their own divinity, and that of their beloved. And, with any luck, my readers would experience the same, vicariously. There’s something exciting in knowing that the very act of sex between two people can completely change the course of a novel. All of these elements of sex kept me writing erotica. And all of
these elements are the reason I believe sex is magic.

 

There are few parts of our human nature we struggle more fiercely to control than sexuality. How miserably we fail in that struggle is a testament to the biological drive and even more importantly the archetypal power of sex. And that’s a whole other area, the place within the sex act that borders on the mystical, the magical. That’s why paranormal tales partner so beautifully with the erotic. Once that boundary between the magical and the sexual is breached anything can happen.

 

Ultimately, sex makes people uncomfortable, and anything that makes people uncomfortable is a fabulous tool for fiction. On some level sex is all about biological urges, experiences of a much more visceral nature than the sanitized, well defined, well ordered way we like our world to be. But the power of sex reaches way beyond the procreative. I know of no other act that can connect us to our animal nature while at the same time lifting us outside ourselves to the realm of the gods. I also know of no other act in which we become physically one with another human being, in which we literally get inside the skin of another human being, in which there is the possibility of literally creating new life. The human sex act is about as close to magic as we can get, and we’re not all that comfortable with anything we can’t explain away and dress up for polite company.

 

Sex is that one little sliver of our life in which real magic happens. It’s the place where our boundaries are most permeable. So it’s not surprising that we like to team up the erotic with things that go bump in the night, things we can safely experience on the written page, where those things are free to scare us and titillate us and take away our human control thus allowing demons and vampires, ghosts and witches, werewolves and succubae to dance the tango with our libidos while we all perform our own personal versions of sex magic.

 

Whether you celebrate Halloween, Samhain, Day of the Dead, All Saints, or whether you just like to enjoy the season, I wish you much sexy magic!

 

Taking Risks: Writing with Wild Abandon

fitbit-image-2-writing-wit-wild-abandonimg_6549That’s right! You might as well get used to it. I’m on a writing high at the moment, just over the halfway point with NaNoWriMo 2016 and loving every minute of it. So it stands to reason that you, my lovelies, are going to get a few of my navel-gazy, ‘gawd I love to write posts.’ For those of you who just stepped outside your caves for the first time in awhile, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, the object being – you guessed it – writing an entire novel in one month. I joyously participate every year if I possibly can by taking risks, by writing wildly, recklessly and eccastically for a whole glorious month.

 

I have to admit that when NaNoWriMo comes around, all bets are off. The house gets cleaned even less often than it usually does. The garden clean-up goes on hold. I drink lots of coffee, eat lots of one-handed meals, and reach for insane word counts. NaNoWriMo is the only time of year that I generate almost as many words on a daily basis as I do when I go to Lyme Regis every year on writer’s retreat. To be honest, I’m beginning to think that planning the time, setting November aside, making that effort to focus in and write a novel in a month is going to become at least as essential to my writing year as the retreat.

 

The thing is, each year I do NaNoWriMo, I take more risks and I write more innovatively. As a result, I come away from the experience a better writer. It’s not so much about word count. There are days when a few paragraphs are so essential that I may get nothing else done because they need to be perfect. When they are, that’s a victory in itself. What it is about is taking risks in a safe container. I have a month, only a month, and for some strange reason, I’ve always thought of November as a particularly short month. To me it always seems even shorter than February. Maybe that’s because it’s the last chance to breathe before the holiday season hits like a battering ram and there’s no slowing until after January first. All I know is that if I’m doing NaNoWriMo, I love, love, LOVE November! If I’m not doing NaNoWriMo, I hate, hate HATE November. It’s cold its bleak, it’s wet and windy and the days are short and dark and you know with that sense of cold in deep in your bones that summer is not well and truly over, and even Indian crest-05e1a637392425b4d5225780797e5a76Summer has had its last painful gasps. BUT absolutely NONE of that matters when I’m writing hard.

 

Bring on the coffee! Bring on the novel I’ve always wanted to write, but never had time for in a genre I’ve never been
brave enough to tackle before and I am SO close to nirvana I can almost taste it!

 

This year’s wonderful discovery for me has been something truly amazing with my FitBit. Yes, I know, live by the FitBit,
die by the FitBit, but write by the FitBit??? Oh you betcha!

 

FitBit encourages people to get up and walk 250 steps every hour. Good advice whether you’re a FitBit addict or not. It takes almost no time to do, and it gets me out of the hunched position over the computer. If I’m stuck, it also gives me time to walk through the problem. However, if I’m truly not ready to break, I’ve discovered that I can walk and write on my iPhone at the same time. OK, it ain’t elegant, I’ll admit, but it works! I walk, I write, I live very happily, and healthily in NaNo-land.

 

Eep! My walk alarm just went off. Must! Walk! Steps! And think! Be right back.

 

Yes, now where was I? Right! It’s sort of like a mini timed writing, a mini sprint, in NaNoWroMo terms, only it’s timed by steps rather than minutes. Okay, it’s sloppy and messy, but it works! Besides, sloppy and messy is what writing is all about. It never happens neatly or orderly. It’s either a mad scramble to get it all down fast enough or a pull-your-brain-out through your left nostril effort that leaves you exhausted and raw. Either way, it gets messy. Perhaps that’s why I love it so much, it’s permission to get messy, permission to give over control to those magical 26 letters and those squiggles of punctuation from which great stories, from which ALL stories are formed. Wow! I just gave myself chills!

 

Oh, and if you’re wondering, here’s the blurb for my NaNoWriMo WIP, my first ever scifi novel. Proud much???

 

imagesPiloting Fury Blurb:

“Win the bet and the Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.” It seemed like a no-brainer, Rick Manning’s
slightly inebriated offer. If he’d been sober, he’d have remembered Diana “Mac” McAlister never lost a bet. All her she life she’d dreamed of buying back her freedom and owning her own starship, and when the Fury’s ne’er-do-well, irritating as hell captain all but hands the Fury to her on a silver platter she figures she can’t lose. But she does. That’s how the best pilot in the galaxy finds herself the indentured 1st mate of a crew that, thanks to her, has doubled in size. Too late, she finds out the Fury is way more than a cargo ship. It’s a ship with a history – a dangerous history, a history Mac’s been a part of for a lot longer that she could imagine, and Rick Manning was not above fixing a bet to get her right at the center of it all, exactly where he needs her to be.

 

Writing Badly? Permission Granted!

img_0082Being deep in the throes of NaNoWriMo right now, it’s not unusual that I’ve been thinking a lot about the process of writing and what makes it work. Why is it that sometimes the words flow and other times they just don’t? The first time I realised I might be able to exert some control over that flow, that I might be able to do more than sit in front of a keyboard and hope the Muse would take pity on me, was when I read Natalie Goldberg’s classic book, Writing Down the Bones. There I discovered the timed writing. It’s simple really. You write non-stop for a given amount of time. You write against the clock, and you don’t stop writing until time runs out. No matter what! You write whatever comes without fretting over whether it’ll be good. And when you’re done, some of the end result – even a good bit of the end result – might be crap. But mixed in with that crap might just be the seeds of something wonderful.

writing-down-the-bones-images

At the time I felt like I’d been asked to write with my left hand. Even writing for five minutes seemed like a daunting
task when I made my first attempts. But Natalie Goldberg knew what she was talking about. I was amazed at what came out of the abyss between my ears! It was only after I read Writing Down the Bones that I began to write real stories, and I think about that process of writing, just writing, no matter what comes out so often when I do NaNoWriMo because writing a novel in a month is never going to be pretty. But out of it, something truly wonderful can come. I know this because I’ve had two published novels from NaNoWriMo, and I’ve tackled both of those month-long races to the end as though they were a series of thirty gigantic, drawn out, timed writings.

 

So why did one book make such a difference? I finally had something I lacked in the past, something very important. I had permission to write badly. Every writer needs permission to write badly. Later Julia Cameron, in her book, The Artist Way, called those off-the-cuff, devil-may-care writings morning pages, and she prescribed three morning pages every day – written without forethought, written in haste. From a fiction writer’s perspective, she didn’t give them the weight that Natalie Goldberg did. They were only a part of a plan to open the reader to the artist within. To her, they were more about venting, sort of a daily house-cleaning for the brain. In addition to morning pages, Cameron insisted that every creative person should give themselves what she called an artist date once a week. An artist date was a date with oneself away from writing.

 

the-artist-wayI can’t count the number of times I stood myself up for my artist dates. I would have broken up with me long ago if I were actually dating me. But then I realised that an artist date didn’t have to be dinner and dancing or shopping or even visiting a museum. An artist date was a change of pace. It could even be ironing or weeding the garden. In fact the whole point of the artist date was to create space in which I could disengage the internal editor, engage the wild, creative part of my brain, the part full of ‘what ifs,’ and then, to give myself permission to write badly.

 

So many of us are under the impression that every word we write must be precious and worth its weight in gold. What I’ve learned since I discovered the pleasure of writing badly is that on the first draft, every word is most definitely not precious. On the first draft, every word is a crazy frivolous experiment. Every word is a chance to test the waters, to play in the mud, to let my hair loose and run dancing and screaming through the literary streets. Every word is a game and an adventure. Every word is eating ice cream with sprinkles for the main course. By the same token, every word is shit, every word is compost, and every word is the ground out of which the next draft will grow. I never know what’ll work crest-05e1a637392425b4d5225780797e5a76until I try it. I never know what my unconscious will come up with while I’m writing like a wild crazy person, grabbing words and cramming them in and rushing on to the next ones – just after I’ve done a basket full of ironing. Without that bold and daring first draft, without opening the floodgates and letting the words spill onto the page, there’s nothing to work with when the next draft comes. And when the next draft comes, the words do get precious. Every single one becomes weighty and irritable and reluctant to fit anywhere but the place it belongs, the place where I feel it just below my sternum like the point of an accusing finger.

 

But by the time I get to the second draft, by the time I get to that place where every word has to be perfect, I’m up for it. I’m ready to slow down and feel what every word means. I’m ready to find all the nuance and all the cracks and crevices of meaning in between the words. I’m ready for it because I’ve only just been playing up until now, and I’ve been allowing the words to play. And now … recess is over.

 

The longer I write, the more I realise what else, besides Natalie Goldberg’s timed writings and Julia Cameron’s reluctant artist dates, gets me there. And what gets me there is often totally being somewhere else, somewhere other than writing. Sometimes it’s playing the piano badly, or sweating at the gym, or weeding the veg patch. Sometimes it’s walking through the woodland not thinking about anything. Sometimes it’s reading something frivolous. Sometimes it’s writing-pen-and-birds-1_xl_20156020reading something profound. All the space that taking time not to write opens up inside me makes room for that wild
ride of the first draft. And when that first draft is finished, I have what I need to pick and choose, to sort through and sift, to change and rearrange until I find the best way to tell my tale. But up until then, it’s child’s play. It’s dancing naked. It’s shameless abandon and multiple verbal orgasms.

 

To all my lovely writing friends valiantly struggling through NaNoWriMo this year – in fact to anyone who has a story to write, let me just say this.

 

Writing badly? Permission most definitely granted!

 
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© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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