Oh Look Something Shiny!

I have a very special treat for you today, my friend Jennifer L. Hart. Please give Jenn a big Teatime welcome. — Amy

jenniferlhart I swear, somewhere in my background I have an ancestor that was either a Valkyrie or a magpie shifter  because all it takes is catching a glimpse of something sparkly out of the corner of my eye and poof, instant distraction.

No, it isn’t ADHD. My problem is more like my thoughts flow like a river and sometimes something comes along and cuts a new path to divert the water in a new direction.  Let’s say a novel is a farm that the river flows by. Let’s stick with the river analogy and say my novels are like fields of crops that require the water to thrive. If they go too long without attention, they begin to wither.

So here I have all these fields plowed and seeded and ready to turn into novels. All they need is my undivided attention for a spell to yield some stories. But the water always wants to flow downhill and those shinys are constantly digging holes to divert the water from the zany mystery field to the Post-Apocalyptic romance one.

This is my process, and the reason why I can never and will never be a plotter kind of writer, no matter how much I wish I could be. I crave the ability to organize, to have a clear-cut path from start to finish. Beginning, middle and ending that are solid. No wiggle room, it is what it is and I did it all on purpose. Yeah, dream on, Jenn. My brain doesn’t even work that way over the course of one book, never mind an entire career.

For example, in my first zany mystery, The Misadventures of the Laundry Hag: Skeletons in the Closet, I changed the killer from who I’d ????????????????????????????????????????intended while writing the final chapters of the book.  The shiny took me from a steady and unimpressive finale to a heart-pounding blindside. Good shiny, have a cookie.

All this rerouting would be okay if I didn’t fight it. But I do. Every freaking step of the way I struggle and fight and rage and bargain and get absolutely nowhere. I try to reason with myself, to go over important points as to why the water needs to go this way RIGHT now. Deadlines need to be met, it’s been too long since I put out a book under this name, ect.

After years of writing I’ve come to one conclusion: I am totally unreasonable. It’s okay though because unlike actual fields, the seeds of ideas don’t rot. Though it might be hard to pick up a tone again, I can always come back to prepped fields, they can be the new shiny. And despite the other demands on my time I am confident that in time they will all get their turn.

Former navy wife turned author Jennifer L. Hart loves a good mystery as well as a good laugh and a happily ever after is a must. Her works to date include The Misadventures of the Laundry Hag series,Redeeming Characters, River Rats, Stellar Timing, Who Needs A Hero?,and Daisy Dominatrix.  Find out more about her books at her website.

You can catch Jen every other Tuesday at the Writers Gone Wild Blog.


7 thoughts on “Oh Look Something Shiny!

  1. Pingback: Oh Look Something Shiny! | collettecameron

  2. I think I’m cursed by my dayjob as a technical writer. It frequently *requires* plotting (or outlining, if you will) in order to meet client needs. I have a hard time just letting a story take hold and run by itself. I’m trying, but it doesn’t always work. Okay, it almost never works. *hangs head in shame*

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