Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Writing Process

In school, the writing process was a dreaded chart that we had to fill out with lame details about some lame paper we were writing. I hated that chart. Who's with me? Hopefully you remember what I'm talking about, or else I'm preaching to no one here.


I've found that, even as I got older and my writing has become more my own, I still don't use any sort of writing process. I just simply write. Outlines? What's that? I get an idea in my head, and I run with it. Sometimes the path I'm taking leads me straight into a brick wall and then I have to back track. Sometimes it leads me into an open field full of flowers and I get distracted (it happens easily.) Sometimes I'm not running at all and well, it takes a lot longer to get where I'm trying to go.
But sometimes the words come, the rhythm flows, and then bam.

The character in my novel Toxic came to me a long time ago and has been simmering in the back of my sub-conscious ever since. I met a lady one day, who told me she had a daughter named Logan. Immediately, I fell in love with the name. The lady went on to tell me about how raising Logan was a battle of wills, how she had to learn to pick her fights, and how she eventually became something more than a mother; a friend, an ally when the time was right. I began thinking about how some mothers choose to pick every battle, and how some leave their children to fight their own. And that was that. It wasn't until recently that I wanted to tell my own Logan's story.

When I was nine years old, my mother became sick and spent months in and out of the hospitals with nothing to show for it but questions and pill bottles prescribed to her. The doctors finally diagnosed her with MS and we thought things would get easier; we thought we had our answers. It wasn't until I was older when I began to understand the consequences of prescription drugs. The ups and the downs, the highs and the lows. The difference between needing and wanting.
My mom was able to pull herself out of that hole. She was able to differentiate between necessity and addiction and came out better than before on the other side. Not everyone is as lucky.

Logan's journey through life with an addicted mother, and a seemingly unavoidable similar life for herself, is something that I've wanted to write about for a long time. As I wrote, Logan came to life. She made decisions, jumped to conclusions, assumed and presumed and never asked what-if. Maybe if she had, things would have ended up differently. Maybe if she would have fought, picked her battles, life wouldn't have been so hard.
But then again, everything happens for a reason, right?

And so Toxic was born and grew into what is it today. And like so many fellow authors that I've spoken to, Logan came to life for me. I hope she does for you too.

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