It’s a crazy statement, I know. But all authors have an element of crazy in them somewhere — at least I don’t think I’m the only one. How can we not? We have to balance our lives, family, and day-to-day responsibilities with the art of storytelling. We create lives, personalities, likes, and dislikes. It’s like giving birth without the added weight gain and late-night bottle feedings.
Or is it?
If we’re not careful, we drink too much coffee, eat too many snacks — instead of real food — and position ourselves in front of our computer screens for hours on end. Thus, weight gain. Late-night bottle feedings come in the form of waking up in the wee hours of the night, jotting down notes or a scene that’s been plaguing us all day.
How do we stay sane? Where do these fictional people come from? Why are we not wearing straitjackets?
My best guess is because we’ve learned to blend in with the rest of society. Thankfully, readers are intrigued by our stories, which helps me to keep the purple straitjacket tucked away.
All jokes aside, it is my opinion that writing is the truest form of self-expression, healing, and finding a way to cope with whatever ails you. Whether you journal, blog, write a memoir, or take your life experiences or pull from those around you and write a book. No matter what avenue you take, writing is therapeutic.
I love to create the characters in my stories. As an only child, I spent a lot of time alone, playing with my baby dolls, stuffed animals, and Barbies. Each had a name and a voice of their own. I spent hour after hour making up stories and creating adventures to entertain myself. Each story had a Happily Ever After. From time to time, I would get the tape recorder (remember that old-fashioned form of electronics?) and make cassette tapes of my little adventures to share with my parents. They, of course, thought my tales were funny. Little did I know that form of storytelling would eventually lead to a writing career.
I still use a recorder — digital now — to record my ideas for my books. No dolls allowed; I leave that to my daughter. The tales are no longer about a princess riding horses and marrying a prince. Now the stories deal with real-life experiences. Not all are my own, but they are real, they do happen, and there is heartbreak and pain. But through it all, there is happiness and love.
After creating the heroines in my books, I realized something. In each character — as different as they are — there is an element of me. The woman I once was, the woman I am, the woman I secretly wish I could be, and the woman I aspire to become. Multiple Personality Disorder at its best. By telling their stories, I’ve found a way to work through the pain I've experienced to find happiness in my family and the ones I hold dear.
Along the way, I’ve made friends I never would have known and gained knowledge I never would have attained. In short, I’ve not only learned how to become a better writer, but I’ve also learned more about myself. Writing has allowed me to make a mark of my own outside of being a wife and a mother. I have discovered something I love, something I’m good at, and something that unless I actually lose my mind, no one can ever take away from me.
There’s not a morning I don’t get up with an idea that I’m anxious to put on paper. Seeing the Butterfly Memoirs go through several different stages of evolution over several years taught me so much. Adding to the story, taking away, fine tuning, and finessing … it’s all the part of telling a story — with heart, care, and attention to detail.
If you’re thinking about writing a book, watch out for those doctors with those special white coats!
By the way, my straight jacket also has butterflies! LOL!
Great news! If you’d like to learn more about my characters, my first book, a romantic women’s fiction with heart and soul, is absolutely FREE for a limited time!
Hope you enjoyed this insight into my writing world!
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Carmen DeSousa: I had to stop writing when I broke down over a character dying, and I’m the psycho who killed him.
When I sit down to write a novel, I generally have no idea where I’m going. My typical start of a story is usually the main character—whether it’s the male protagonist or the female protagonist—and whatever issue they are facing.
From there, I just ask myself questions:
The great thing is, just like the reader, I never know exactly what my characters will do. Sure, I know I want a happily ever after, but I also know that not every character will get a happily ever after. And the detours they make along the way sometimes even surprise me. Why? Because I allow my story to progress naturally.
I typically write two thousand words a day, and then every night I read the last few chapters to make sure the story flows, marking any areas that need addressing, and then go to sleep, allowing the characters to come alive in my dreams. And ohhh how they do. It’s not unusual for hubby to see me typing on my iPhone’s notepad in the middle of the night. Often it’ll just be a great line or a missing link I was in search of.
When I finally finish the novel, I take an entire day and read from beginning to end, making sure the story flows and that there are no holes or contradictions.
I’ve read this story almost thirty times at this juncture. How can it surprise me, how can it make me cry? And yet, here I am, sitting on the sofa, my afghan curled around me, and I’m bawling over something that happened.
Hubby, who has been sitting quietly by his computer—because he knows it’s read-through day—whips his chair around to face me and asks, “Are you okay?”
I swipe away my tears and answer, “Yes, I just can’t believe that happened.”
“Wait. I thought you were reading your book?” he asks.
“I am,” I answer. “But it still makes me cry.”
He shakes his head and goes back to typing his nonfiction.
One of my favorite quotes is by Robert Frost: “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
Well, I’m always surprised, and I always cry when something happens to my characters, so I hope when you read my books you will, too!
If you enjoy stories that blend happy and sad, romantic and suspenseful, click the link for your favorite retailer below and grab one of my free books. If you’ve read all my books, make sure you grab my new release, Erik’s Revelation, so you’ll know why I was crying!
Until next time, happy reading!
Learn more about Carmen: www.WrittenMusings.com/CarmenDeSousa
Or visit one of her author pages to grab one of her bestsellers!
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