I waited to write up my October check in post this month because things were so busy. I've been writing (of course), but trying to figure out the best way to make this "full-time writing thing" work best for me.
It's helped a lot to listen to Sarah Enni's First Drafts podcast and get a feel for what other writers do to make the daily demands of creativity work for them. For me, I'm finding, it's different almost every day. When I have a deadline (either self-imposed or agent-assigned), I can buckle down and work, but those other days when I'm free to just create? It's hard.
Over the summer, I wrote a 22-page outline for my next book. It covers everything plot-related, and some character arcs, which is great. But, I've been struggling with these two main characters of mine and trying to figure out who they really are--especially this one named Miles. Sure, you can give a character a name and a sassy attitude and just go with it, but underneath it all you need to know who they really are. Miles wasn't talking to me. I tried to give him a backstory, but it felt so generic. After all, how many I've-known-him-since-kindergarden stories are already out there? I wanted more from this character, and he refused to tell me.
Sometimes when I get stuck like this, when the character won't come to me, I go out into the world and find them. Yesterday, I was at the gym and Miles walked right by and jumped on the treadmill in front of me. In fifteen minutes I had him all figured out, and realized how much I love this exercise in character development. Because when you can see the person right in front of you, and can observe how they carry themselves, how they look around at the world, it's easier to figure out what their hang ups are and their place in the story. So, if you try this method, let me know how it works for you!
In things I've been reading, check out Aaron Hartzler's What We Saw! I was so impressed by his writing and the strong message this one carries about rape culture, especially in small town, high schools where everyone wants to look away.
Wolf by Wolf is also very exciting and so different--especially if you're into reimagined WWII stories (with motorcycles and wolves!). Fans of The Scorpio Races would like this one.
Faking Normal was my favorite contemporary this month. I have a huge writer crush on Courtney Stevens.
That's it for me this month. It's time to get back to writing. :)