Whoever it was who said writing a romance novel is easy needs to spend a week in my shoes.
I am around 5000 words (two writing days) away from penning the final words in The Defiant One – the second book in my Perth Girls series.
Its been a mission. I’ve had to dig deep, deeper than I ever have before, and access emotions that I really didn’t like to feel. I’ve had to write about people in the worst moments of their lives. I’ve had to do it despite the fact that it took me to places I never wanted to be again. And probably, this is only the first time I will have to do this, in my writer’s career.
You see, as a writer, we are all about emotions. Without emotions, we are writing a list of facts, not a story. Without emotions, we can’t make readers love or hate or cheer for our characters. Without emotions, stories cease to exist.
Writing those emotions for someone else is, for me, just as difficult as living them myself. This was clearly brought home for me, when I thought I’d lost three chapters that I’d written, that dealt with a period of time where my heroine was grieving for a student who had committed suicide. She felt as if she had failed him, that the school and the administration had failed him, and quite apart from that, she was friends with the student, so she was grieving proper as well. I had to put her into a situation where she felt numb, unaware of anything apart from the massive lump of sadness inside her.
For me, that was quite a frightening experience. Because I’ve been there, in that situation, where there is nothing but sadness. Mine didn’t come about from grief, but it was the same thing – as if all aspects of your life pull away from you until the only thing left in front of you is a tiny dot, and the tiny dot is sadness. When I personally came to that place, I spent a week in a psychiatric hospital, learning how to function again. For Desiree, my character, she had the hero and his loving family to help her through.
After I wrote the chapters, I had to take some time away from writing. I was so emotionally wrung out, I simply couldn’t put pen to paper. Then, when I thought I’d lost the chapters, the thought of rewriting them was so exhausting, I had all but given up on the book. I was going to put it away, maybe come back to it in a few years when I could face it again.
Thankfully, I found the chapters hiding out in an old folder, and just reading them again, I was inspired to restart writing. I was over the worst of the story, it was all uphill from here.
So, twenty-ish thousand words later, the story is very nearly ended. I think it’s my best work to date. I have grown so much as a writer from the writing of this one. And although I’m still afraid of accessing those emotions again, I would do it in a heartbeat if I thought I could write another story like this one.
It won’t be out for another couple of months yet – editing and the like will have to happen first, but please do look out for the Defiant One when it hits the shelves. I love it, and I hope you all do too.