Down the Rabbit Hole of Research

It’s amazing what a difference a week makes. I struggled last week, but this week has been much more positive. And I can’t really explain why. I still plodded along. I guess, just being excited about a project helps.

So, I’m doing research for two projects at the moment. Research for Dragons Lore, and for Carol’s Christmas, a modern take on the Christmas Carol. As part of the story, my character is going to discover she has breast cancer.

And I jumped onto the Breast Cancer New Zealand Website – wow, what a resource. I have learnt a lot about breast cancer, and there isn’t actually just one type of breast cancer. It all depends on if it is hormone receptiveness, invasiveness as to whether it is Stage I or Stage IV, stage IV being the worst type.

I also have two very lovely ladies who have been sharing their breast cancer journey with me, so I have a more personal feel for what the character will be going through. To call these two women brave, really is an understatement. The mental and emotional stress, not to mention the physical pain they went through makes them superheroes in my eyes. I am so proud to be friends with them as they share how important it is to examine your breasts regularly and to get any irregularities checked immediately.

As for Dragons Lore, I have been slowly building up some character profiles and a brief outline of the stories that I want to write. At this stage there are five stories, with an overarching story of the battle that is building and needs to be resolved. However, I am flexible, especially is another character pops up and insists on having their story told. I already have one character who has had a wife who was murdered, but he still communes with his dead wife…not sure if he does this through his mind, or if he actually can communicate with the dead. That could add a totally new spin on the story. Hmmm…

The weather is more settled around the country, and hopefully the remainder of winter will be dry, so we can actually do some work out there. Hopefully the weather is being kind in your part of the world too.

Kia Kaha everyone.

The Ever Evolving Story

I am a plotter, I like to have an outline of the story before I proceed. I have tried to ‘pants it’, but I seem to lose steam fairly quickly because…well, I have no idea where the story is going to go.

In saying that, I am also flexible enough that when I’m writing the story, new ideas can develop and be fitted into the story.

Case in point, Compromising Positions. Originally this story was about a relationship between a gardener and a cantankerous old man that she gardens for, with a side story of a romance with the estranged son. This initially had the working title of The Gardener. However, upon reviewing what I had already written, and further ideas, I decided to focus more on the romance, and have the friendship with the older gentleman as a subplot. Then came the idea of having the two main characters catching each other in compromising positions, hence adding to the conflict within the budding relationship.

Then, I started adding back story to the characters, and the cantankerous old man was an ex prime minister, and being seen with a young lady sent gossip magazines into overdrive. So I wondered how this could impact the plot and subplot.

The latest evolution of the story involves a personal attack against one of the main characters, which adds a whole other depth to the story.

Its funny how stories sometimes take on lives of their own. What seemed like a good idea at one stage suddenly isn’t so shiny and good, and becomes lacklustre and ‘meh’, and often, I find, that my stories really need some flexibility when I’m writing them to allow more punch.

And I find that conflict is a good way to add punch, so I often look for ways that I can throw more at my characters, to see how they react. The more I put them through, the more they grow as people within my pages, and the more real they become to the reader.

When we write the stories of our lives, it evolves in ways we don’t expect. I didn’t expect to get to be in my 40’s and twice divorced with one child. I expected to be happily married with two or three children. How different that life would be from the one I live now. But I am happy with my life, I have a partner I adore, a son that is my world, a wonderful place to live, I work full time in a job I love (writing it a side hustle for me), and I can afford food for my table. I have faced hurdles, and I got over them and moved on. My life has evolved, and the conflict that has been thrown at me over the years, has provided me with a chance to mature, develop character, and become (according to me and my friends and loved ones) a better person.

I challenge you today, to look at your life, and see how it has evolved, and how it has made you the person you are today. The choices that you made have given you character and created the path for your life as it is today. Are you unhappy with your life? You can choose to change your path. Its your choice to evolve your life.

Have a great week

Catherine x