COASP #4: NaNoWriMo Kicked My Ass (and I kicked back)

Holy shit, I live. Barring the usual round of excuses for my inactivity, I think I’ll just jump right into the meat of my reasons. That said…

Welcome to Confessions of a Smut Peddler, a small section where I pour out confessions dealing with the process of writing erotica. Whether it be cringe-worthy, controversial or opinionated, allow me to share a piece of my mind with you. 

Click here for the full list of COASP posts.


 

2016 was kind of a dead year for me. After finishing Velvet Collar, my brain needed to cool down. My frequent partner in crime Melissa, of the Second Realm trilogy, was going through a lot of personal problems. We joke that our lives run in parallels. We both ended up moving to Texas around the same time, for different reasons, the year before. My personal life took over. When it came down to time to write, it felt as though my muse had left me.

Loss of Identity

Being a writer who can’t write is terrifying. It has been my entire identity since I was fourteen. It came naturally to me. I ran into something beyond writer’s block. It wasn’t a lack of creativity. It was the entire absence of creativity. I thought it was exhaustion. Velvet Collar took a huge toll on me after I finished it. I dove into work and a growing social life, but it felt like an essential part of me was just, missing.

When November rolled around, some of Melissa’s friends got her into doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the first time. She somehow convinced me to join in. We had both been struggling with our writing (those life parallels, I tell you…), and this would be our first year to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

NaNoWriMo kicked my ass at first. I had a partial story idea I went with. I went in with no expectations, no real goal for the story. The 1,667 word goal looked huge for someone who could barely string together a coherent sentence. Yet, with as much as I doubted myself, I kept going.

NaNoWriMo kicked my ass, and I kicked back.

Somewhere along the line, I found my words. I found my writing style. I found my plot and my characters and the path I had set for their development. With each day and each time I met the word goal, it felt as though I was gaining my power back as a writer.

Even better? I finally got Eva’s story down.

Eva, 2004 – 2016

I talk about Eva a lot, honestly. Both COASP #2 and COASP #3 talk about her. I won’t rehash her story again. With the entire time Eva has sat around on my computer, I never felt like I could get her story “right.” Whether it be my own inexperience as a writer, my own sexual inexperience at the time, or just having a complete and total lack of plot development, Eva went through revision after revision and nothing stuck. Over time, she got shelved, until I could get the story “right” — whatever that meant.

When NaNoWriMo started, I had just barely started my latest revision. I jokingly called it “Eva 2k16” because I completely doubted myself in my own ability to get it done. Next year, or the next year, there would surely be a 2k17, 2k18, or -God forbid- a 2k20 edition. I built the 2k16 revision off of previous edits, where the six boys Eva had relationships with were condensed down to two compositions, the best of each of them. A third boy was added back, as I always liked his role. They were all aged up beyond legal age (COASP #2 talks about the age problem), and they were given roles that felt real to me.

Something clicked when NaNoWriMo started. Whether it was some lingering sense of competition, or my magical muse graced me once more, I don’t know. With no outline or plan of how Eva was to go, I wrote like I did in 2004. I wrote by the seat of my pants. No plan, no plot, no outline. Just writing. Eva’s story could get away with it. Eva moves by reaction — she reacts to other people and other situations. It was different than Velvet Collar, which needed a deep plan and plot to go with Madison’s moves.

I fell in love with the male characters she fell in love with – especially Joseph, this quiet artist who realizes he’s way in over his head with her. I went back to my old writing method when The Resort first developed: I created a playlist that kept me on track with my writing. The playlist was the story, or the story was the playlist. Whichever order it went in, the story filled in around the music I found. Words fell into place. A plot developed, matching up to where Eva was at the Resort. Eva 2k16 became the unintentional prequel to The Resort, detailing who she was before she found Aiden.

It felt right.

Gif via Tumblr

I Was Never Lost

Sometimes it takes a good ass kicking to realize that I was never lost in the first place. I lost my identity because I let myself think that. It took NaNoWriMo kicking my ass to realize that I still had all the talent and skill I had before I “lost” my identity as a writer. When the words flowed from my fingertips into my keyboard, they came with the same ease as before.

I lost my confidence as a writer, not my identity.

I lost my confidence as a writer, but Eva helped me find it again.

Eva is one of my most beloved characters. She’s highly flawed, she doesn’t know what she’s doing, and she’s motivated by sex, plain and simple. I feel like I got her story down correctly this time, through twelve years of half-assed revisions, long breaks and rewrites. It took me twelve years to find her and make her whole.

I can’t wait until her story is polished up, so I can bring her to you, my dear reader. <3