Wednesday, April 18, 2018

What Do Writing and the Weather Have in Common? by Jannine Gallant


I took this video in the meadow a couple of days ago on a walk with Ginger. The sun was shining, the snow was melting, and the frogs were croaking. Spring had arrived!



Today is the first day of my "summer" job at the boat ramp. This is the current view outside my booth where I have two heaters cranked up to combat the 24 degree temperature. If a boater shows up, I'll probably faint from shock. LOL Not that I'm complaining, mind you, since I have a ten hour shift and nothing to distract me from writing.

April is one of those months where you never know what will happen. Kind of like my WIP (work in progress). Without a signed contract for this book/series, I've been struggling to stay focused and on track. My personal deadline (complete a book every five months) will be up in June, and I'm only a little over the half-way mark. I've come to the conclusion I won't be finished by then, and I honestly am not freaking out about that. I put a lot of pressure on myself to produce, and I need to ease up! My publisher is waiting to see how well my current series sells before offering a new contract, so I can adjust the timeline accordingly at that stage. If I get a new contract... But let's not go there and just assume I will.



I wrote in another post that I was going to put together an outline to better stay on track. I actually did! I know, shocking, right? I have a few rough notes scribbled in a binder, plot points that need to happen in the next quarter of the book. I even put together a romance arc to keep that part of the story moving forward. I was pretty pleased with myself...until I actually started writing. Just like the erroneous assumption that spring had arrived and it would be smooth sailing (get it--boat ramp LOL), those clouds rolled in and snowed on my parade. (Sorry about the mixed metaphors.) My characters got off track immediately. I tried to drag them, kicking and screaming, back to my outline, but they're stubborn. Finally, I gave up and decided to go with the flow. Maybe they'll work their way toward my plot points in good time. Or not. I've come to the conclusion some things can't be forced. My hope is my characters know what they're doing. I guess we'll find out.



In the meantime, pick up a copy of BURIED TRUTH. I need sales to get that next contract. Help a paranoid author out, and happy reading!

26 comments:

Margo Hoornstra said...

Way across the country from you in MIchigan and we’re in the same boat. (Pun intended ;-) Got up to snow yesterday. Again. Where the heck is Spring? And we’re chaperoning an outdoor field trip for a bunch of kindergarteners tomorrow. (Weak Grandma moment!) Hang in there with the weather, the outline, the rogue characters and all. (Although I am proud you had the romance story arc worked out for a change ;-) You know you’ll get there, with a contract. You always do. Until then, Buried Truth is one heck of a good read, folks. Really it is.

Jannine Gallant said...

Thanks for the pep talk, Margo. We always get snow in April. I wrote this on Monday, and it snowed all day. Pat played hooky from work to go skiing yesterday, since it was a powder day! Today, the sun is out (well, sort of since it's still kind of dark here at the boat ramp at 6am). I hit the 50,000 word mark on my WIP yesterday and kept writing, so I'm even feeling good about my rogue characters! LOL

Andrea Downing said...

I'm headed to Wyoming next week and looking forward to a bit of snow mixed with Spring. Here in the NE it's just been cold and damp. And as for your characters, Jannine, haven't you discovered they ALWAYS know what they're doing?

Rolynn Anderson said...

Funny how we resist letting the characters fly on their own...it's so much easier that way, don't you think? Glad yours elbowed you out of the scenes, Jannine. Besides good page count, I'd say your sharp-elbowed characters are proof you still have the mojo. Mush on!

Jannine Gallant said...

Andrea, they always pretend to know what they're doing. Let's hope they don't lead me into a corner!

Jannine Gallant said...

Rolynn, it is easier...until you realize you have a bunch of plot holes to fix. My page count at the ramp has been stellar with no distractions. I need to harness that focus when I'm at home.

Christine DePetrillo said...

I always make an outline. It's as if I can't get started writing until I have a map of some kind. HOWEVER, I never adhere to that outline. My characters take over every single time. I've learned to let them. They often come up with things that were way better than whatever I had on the outline.

And the weather... sigh. I'm on spring break but it isn't really springish out and I'm heading North tonight so it isn't going to get any warmer. I should have opted to head South!

Betsy Ashton said...

I have a dear friend who became physically ill when she tried to write a book she'd planned for years. She's sit at her table and write until her head ached and her body felt toxic. She pushed all other voices out of her head except for the heroine. The more she wrote, the worse she felt. Finally, she listened to a male voice who demanded she tell his story. She got out of his way, immediately felt better. The book came out and was an immediate best seller. Happy ending for the heroine. She's back and telling her story, now that the other voice had his way.

You can and will do it. Enjoy the journey.

Jannine Gallant said...

I didn't start with an outline, Chris. I sort of made one when I got bogged down in the sagging middle. I just don't seem to be sticking to it, but at least I'm out of the slump! Yeah, it's cold here, too. And the woods are a soggy, muddy, snowy mess, so dog walking is a challenge. I'm ready for some warmer temps.

Jannine Gallant said...

That's interesting, Betsy. My hero always gets a say in what happens. So does the villain. I'm glad your friend listened to her inner voice. Writing should always be a pleasure!

Alison Henderson said...

Spring? We had hail yesterday! As for writing without an outline--I'm more in Chris's boat. I can't start without one, but I never follow it to the letter. Most of the problems with my current book stem from the fact that I had an outline, but my creative muse remained silent most of the way through the book, leaving me stuck with the original ideas. I simply couldn't see alternatives to situations and characters I knew weren't working. If you've hit 50k with your WIP, it sounds like you're successfully writing your way out of your funk.

Jannine Gallant said...

I think my winter job at the ice rink was part of the problem, Alison. Too many people and distractions to get a lot of writing done or think creatively. At home, there's always housework and the dog who expects me to get up and let her in and out fifty times a day. It's harder to stay focused and work through plot problems. I've been very productive at the boat ramp the last three days with no one to bother me!

Ally Robertson said...

I am soooo jealous of those of you who have snow. :( I would be happy to live in snow year-round. I always MUST have an outline, but it's not uncommon for me to get off track. Hope you're able to whip yours into shape. I admire your productivity!

Leah St. James said...

Our weather is see-sawing in southern Virginia, too! Thankfully that white "stuff" that falls from the sky seems to be done for the year for us! I loved BURIED TRUTH amd hope your publisher will send you some good news soon, and you can get back to your deadline writing! :-)

Jannine Gallant said...

Ally, our winter didn't seem to get started until March when we got pounded by snow. Now winter seems reluctant to let go. I'm kind of over it at this point, although it's good for reducing the fire danger.

Jannine Gallant said...

Leah, I'm glad you were a fan of BURIED TRUTH. With the mass market deal comes a lot of pressure to sell since my pub now has a financial stake. I'm not sure what they're going to offer me at this point, which is why I'm not in a rush to pressure them into a decision. I'll get the current book written and then see what happens.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Something good to come out of a late snow...writing time Of the 18 years we spent in MN, we were spared that heavy April snow. Meanwhile, here in AZ we're going to hit over 90 next week. I. Am. Not. Happy. I hate summer. It drains the creative juices right out of me. Wanna trade?

Jannine Gallant said...

Are you kidding, Brenda! Tahoe is perfect (except for the road construction and traffic) in the summer. Always in the 70's and 80's. I can put up with April snow for that!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Well, phooey, Jannine. Thought I might talk you into it! LOL

Jannine Gallant said...

Hey, your home on wheels in mobile. Drive it up here for cooler temps!

Diane Burton said...

Sorry I'm late. Yesterday was hectic and tiring. Outlines. I used to think they were too restrictive. I always (almost always) know where the story is going and how it will end. My characters take over and make me write their story their way (instead of mine). It can be so much fun discovering details about them. My WIP was supposed to be done by Easter. Didn't happen. Still plugging away. Getting stressed over not finishing would be counterproductive. Yet, having self-imposed deadlines makes me push myself instead of dawdling. Good luck on finishing your WIP, Jannine. Sounds like you have the ideal job right now. Lots of time to write. As Margo said, here in Michigan we've had snow, snow, and more snow. Plus ice. Looking forward to the weekend when it's supposed to be in the 60s.

Jannine Gallant said...

I'm usually pretty good with self-imposed deadlines, Diane. But those are based on publishing dates. With three books releasing this year, I had to turn each one in early to have time to finish the final book on schedule. Without a set of publishing dates to push me, I've had more difficulty staying on pace with this one. The good news is it's boat ramp season again, and I'm stuck in my little box by the lake with no distractions until later in the season. I wrote 2200 words yesterday. That's huge for me! Good luck getting into your groove again.

Mackenzie Crowne said...

I'm rooting for you to find your groove again soon, Jannine. I've been searching for mine for a while and know how frustrating the process can be. Go you on the 2200 words!

Jannine Gallant said...

Thanks, Mac. I also had an epiphany about where the plot needs to go (that wasn't in my outline). Now if I can just get my characters to co-operate!

Barbara Edwards said...

I also am working on an outline. Not the full, well-worded but a kind of reminder list. things I don't want to forget to include. We'll see how it goes.

Jannine Gallant said...

My outlines are usually a sentence per chapter of what I think should happen. It never seems to, however. Good luck with yours, Barb!