Those Pesky Characters with @meganslayer #characters #iamwriting

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I am very much a pantser. I tend to let the story go where it will and clean up afterwards. I know that sounds kind of irresponsible. It’s true. The thing is… my characters are the drivers in the story. If they decide to zig, then I have to zig with them. I’ve tried to zag when they zig and it didn’t work.

I’ve had characters who have changed personality through the story. One example is in my recent book, Finding Michael. Tristan is a writer. He has a very high opinion of himself. He’s a playboy. But he grows through the story. He has a few realizations through the book that I didn’t see coming. Instead of arguing with him, I let him go and the realizations made sense the more I went. Fighting what he wanted to do, which I tried, didn’t help. He argued with me, too.

I’ve had entire stories, like Tristan’s planned out. Like written all out in a notebook, 40,000 words done, planned out. I knew where I was going with the story and started moving what was in the notebook to the computer. Between the notebook and computer, the characters change. They evolve. I like it. I want them to grow. Just because I might have liked the original idea doesn’t mean the way they’re moving forward isn’t good. Most of the time, it’s great. The changes show me more of who the characters are.

I’ve had a couple characters grow through a series and now that I’m at the third book of the Picture Me series, I’m seeing just how original and more themselves they are becoming. It’s refreshing and challenging, but a good challenge.

I’d rather have the characters be themselves and evolve with the story, rather than have them be static. I’d rather be pushed as an author. I like growing in my profession and writing.


Life with Cats ~ Writing, Working, Supervising ~ with @meganslayer #captainamerica #lifewithcats #cats #jeepauthor #iamwriting

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This installment of life with cats involves me trying to write the other day and me trying to sort out an issue yesterday. Doesn’t seem too exciting, does it? When there are cats involved, it’s never dull.

Two days ago while writing, I’m getting seriously into the story. Like…the climax of everything. I needed to concentrate. No interruptions kind of concentrate. I had X-Men: Days of Future Past playing and I paid James McAvoy no attention. Yeah. I was getting intense.

Then I hear it. Crying. Well, more like crying and begging, but in the form of the cat meowing. Captain America, so named because his white patch on his nose and chin looks like the Avengers A and it seemed like a good name at the time, wanted to play ball. He does fetch like a dog. It’s funny. He finds the paper ball, brings it kind of over and stares at you. When you don’t respond, he cries. It’s like, oh my gosh you’re not paying attention to me…and I want to play. But most of the time when he does this, he’s out of sight. Like…in the other room and I have no idea he’s even in there until he cries. Oh and this boy is a master of stealth, too. One minute he’s one place and the next he’s somewhere else and I have no idea when he went from point A to point B.

So I’m writing and getting into the story and he’s crying. Of course that rips me out of the story. I mean, I thought he’d gotten locked in a room or something. He does helpless well. Because I’m concerned, I put the story down and hunt for him. He’s sitting on the steps with the ball in front of him and looking very annoyed that it took me this long to bother to arrive to pitch the ball for him. Needless to say, once we’d done this two or three times and he’d decided he was bored, I’d lost all concentration on the story. Sometimes I think he knows he does it and it’s a special thrill for him.

Then there was yesterday. We have two cats. I had three, but one passed back before Christmas. Toughest decision of my life. I hate putting animals down. Even if he was failing and fast, it still sucked. Anyway, the black cat, Cap’s adoptive brother is missing a few screws. I really think when he was in the oven, so to speak, Momma left a few pieces out. He’s a neurotic cat.

So I’m dealing with an issue on a program. I’m the publicity chair for the author brunch and I’m in charge of the program. I wanted said program to look neat, professional and clean. I had the whole thing planned out and emailed the entire plan in document form, plus the banners, plus the menu, to the person who puts it all together. There shouldn’t have been an issue. I mean, it’s copy/paste from the one last year AND I had it all spelled out in the document. Should’ve been easy peasy. But this person swears, despite having acknowledged the email with the information all in and attached to it, that he never got the right stuff. Irked the crap out of me. I have proof he did get it.

In the middle of my having a conniption, the black cat, Vader, strolls over to where I’m sitting. He’s neurotic, but he’s also nosy. Oh, and he loves pens. I had a pen in hand, taking notes, when he decided I didn’t need the pen and didn’t need the notes. He sat on the notes and stole the pen. Instead of getting even more irritated, the interruption actually helped. I appreciated his decision as my supervisor, to step in and de-escalate the situation. So anyone who says cats aren’t therapeutic is wrong.

They know when to step in, when to cause chaos and when to be themselves. I might get some writing done today. Might get to concentrate. I’m not counting on it. I know these two. They’re goofballs, but they’re nice goofballs. I can’t imagine life without them.

Sometimes It Just Doesn’t Click with @meganslayer #randomthoughts #blogging #writing #iamwriting

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There are some days when the story works. Like, just clicks and I feel unstoppable. It’s crazy, but fun. I mean, I know where I’m going and I can’t type fast enough to get the words down. The same goes for blog posts. Some days I know exactly what I want to write about. Every so often, I even have lists for what I want to write about. I know… crazy.

Then there’s today.  Yep. Today I’ve been stuck. It started yesterday, to be honest. I’d read some things on social media that sucked. Not about me, but about something that had happened. I know, vagueposting much? The post that bothered me doesn’t really matter. It’s done and happened and I can’t change it. Doesn’t mean it didn’t depress me. So that made wanting to write a tad difficult. The vitriol that followed the thing I read didn’t help.

I let the thing bother me, even though I can’t do much about it. That’s where I got myself into trouble. I didn’t comment. No way. But I tried to write. Just work on the story I had started. It didn’t work. Nope. I kept thinking about other things that bothered me–the loss of my cat back before Christmas, my 91 year old grandfather being in a very bad way, the stress from the EDJ, stress from the Author Brunch–and it all messed with my creativity.

So instead of getting totally bogged down, I decided to blog about this pothole in my road of creativity. Do you have these? Ever have a day when you just can’t think of anything to write about for the blog? The story gets stuck? I’d love to know about it. Maybe you’ve got suggestions for how to get beyond the block. I’m listening.

Just Write the Book with @MeganSlayer #iamwriting #finishing #novels #interruptions

I’m the kind of writer who has more than one book going at a time. I can’t read one book at at time. I don’t know why. I’ve always been the kid who had to have the tv on or music playing while I did my homework. I need noise and action to work. To some, that seems strange, but to others it doesn’t. I’m a noise kind of girl.

Just as much as I’m horrible with concentrating unless there’s chaos, I can’t seem to work on one book at a time. I said that, remember? I’ve got a story I should be working on right now. It’s not at the deadline yet, but it’s also stalled. The words are there, but they don’t want to come. Darn those words, right? The reason they won’t come is there’s another story playing in my head. I said I have more than one story going at a time. Seems like this shouldn’t be a big deal? This story, though, won’t let go. Despite my best intention to focus, this story won’t go away. I even tried to put that notebook aside and it did no good.

So I worked on it. I jotted down everything the characters are telling me. It’s a jumbled mess, but it’s there. I like having it down. Maybe the jumble and the chaos is what I need. Maybe this story, this diversion, isn’t a diversion per se and it’s what I should be working on next. I never know until the words spill out.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m putting the stalled book aside and working on the chatty one. I feel better about the decision already.

This post is also up at the Dirty Birdie blog:

Things I Learned #Focus with @meganslayer #writerslife #jeepauthor #lessons


In this journey called my writing life, I’ve learned a lot of things. It’s been a true journey and not always the most exciting. Some moments have been quite high, though.


But one thing I’ve learned especially this year is focus. I know that sounds silly. I just now learned focus? I’ve been at this for how long and I couldn’t focus? Let me be honest. I’m actually quite focused. When I set a goal, I see the goal through. That doesn’t meant it’s always the way I want it to work out, but I try to find that end game and run to it.

Now I mentioned focus. Here’s where that comes into play. Until a very short time ago, I tended to focus on what others were doing. What were the trends? What were others writing? Did I fit in with that? How they’re doing and how I’m doing. Comparing. Contrasting. I used to compare myself and push harder. But the thing is, what I’m doing is what I’m doing. I can’t compare myself or my writing to anyone else. It’s not fair or right.

Before you tell me I’m nuts, this is how I see things. If I focus on my stuff and what I want to accomplish, there isn’t room to worry about what I can’t control. It’s been a long journey. I’ve had some tumbles and a few clunks along the way, but I have an idea of where I’m going and I’m going to see my goals through. I know there are others out there and I’m watching, but I’m not worried about them. I’ve got enough to do and I”ll do it.

Just When You Think You Have All Your Ducks in A Row… with @meganslayer #plans

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I make plans. I do. I try to have a schedule, too.  I like schedules.  I like knowing what will happen. Ask my family. I’m not wild about surprises. Like, don’t throw a surprise birthday party. They make me uncomfortable. I’d rather have an idea what’s coming, versus the unknown.

So this week has been a challenge in patience for me. I knew taking the cats to the vet would happen. They were up for their yearly shots. It happens. I’ve known my mother wasn’t doing great because she hasn’t since been well since December 30th. But the phone call saying she’s in the hospital again jarred me. She’s my mom. I can’t imagine not having her around, even if she does drive me crazy. I’ve been back and forth to the hospital trying to make sense of what’s going on. She seems better, but that’s a matter of what day.

Then I had to take my dog to the vet because she’s declining. I know she’s not great off, but I didn’t think she was this bad. She conked her eye and had blood in it. That’s not a huge thing, but it’s still something. Then she got an infection in that eye, so it’s swollen. On top of all that, she’s not eating unless it’s cat food. Yeah, not good. We go back to the vet on Tuesday.

All of this excitement is putting the serious kibosh on writing.  I can’t seem to focus or get anything done. I need writing to settle my mind and to put that extra energy to good use. Don’t confuse this for heartlessness. I want everyone to get better and I want my dog around a lot longer. I’m just…I need to write. I need that creative outlet.

We’ll see. Here’s to good thoughts and getting those ducks sorted out.

Keep Moving Forward and Be Thankful ~ @MeganSlayer #thankful #think #movingforward

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“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”  ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. 

This quote has always been special to me. Whether it’s your life, your job, your family…the message is real. Keep moving forward. Keep trying to reach that next branch and the next foothold. Today is a day to reflect and act. It’s a day to remember what you have and to be thankful.

For me, moving forward has to do with my writing. It’s easy to get complacent. To say, this is good enough. To not want to keep trying when the old reliable works. But at some point, the old reliable becomes not reliable. You have to stretch, to grow and to get a little scared. To try something that may not work for you, but works for the character. Maybe it’s moving into a sci-fi realm when all you’ve written is contemporary. Maybe it’s writing hotter than you’ve ever written. Or the other way, getting sweeter. It’s the pushing and trying. It’s getting to that next branch that matters. To be more than you were the day before.

So hug your family a little tighter. Call that friend you haven’t called in a while and tell them you care. Be thankful for what you have and try to be the best person you can be. Volunteer. Help your neighbors.  Give of yourself. Use this day for more than a day to sleep in.

Do what you need to do and keep moving forward.

This post is also up at The Romance Studio: