Thank God for My Disease
Updated: Mar 3
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In the past, I've written stories in this fashion: I knew the main characters, how the story starts and ends, and the main beats (plot points) in the middle. For this series, I tried something new. When I began, I knew my character, Painter Mann. His thoughts, his quirks, his past (which, as you'll learn in the novel, he does not know). I knew he was a ghost and that he wanted to help other ghosts "move on" to the Next Thing (heaven, hell, dentists' waiting rooms). I knew how spooks got into the InBetween: unsolved murders. And... that was it. The writing began, and I had no clue about the plot. Didn't even know who the bad guy was. I just wandered out there. Just strollin' through the desert. Yeah. Terrifying for a writer to be honest. After a brief scene with Painter walking the streets of Minneapolis, suddenly a character named Bernie pushed his way into my consciousness. And that name, for whatever reason, sounded like a mailman. And then I was off. (Note: that scene appears in the book almost exactly as written that first day) It was only after about 75,000 words into the novel, did I step back and go, "Okay, what is all of this leading to? How am I going to end this?" And even when I felt I knew how it would end, it didn't end that way. The characters picked a better ending that I'd come up with. It's frankly the sort of writing that gives a lot of authors cold sweats. What if I've fucked it all up? What if I don't know how it should end? Did I just waste months and months of writing time? I just had to trust that my subconscious, the real writer, had or was working it all out. Luckily for me, I have narcolepsy. Now, I very rarely simply fall asleep on the spot. I have done that two or three times. Strangely, that was at stoplights. Go figure. Narcolepsy, at least for me, is being tired all the time. Not just, boy am I sleepy but somebodys-put-something-in-my-drink tired. Yes, that tired. Up for 48-hours straight tired. For years, I just thought everyone felt this way. Until I did cocaine for a year (I don't recommend). Then later, I was given a prescription that was, in essence, speed. It was great-- not the "buzz" or anything. Just not being tired. So good, I would nearly weep with joy. I was awake! Fully! But the legal speed made me angry. Kinda short and shitty with people. Even mean! And, by god, I'm Canadian. That will not do. So, I ditched the speedy prescriptions (I'm just on the one now, not a stimulant) and sucked it up. But, I realized something pretty great. Do you know how when YOU start to fall asleep, your mind wanders? You come up with some pretty cool ideas, despite being too tired to write them down? That's where I am. All the time. However, I've worked out some coping mechanisms (mind tools, if you will) so I dowrite them down. And, voila, the writer was born. Narcolepsy blows. But it ain't cancer or dementia (although, given the family history, that's in my day planner down the road). It's not life-ending. And I believe it helps me create worlds like the InBetween. I hope you enjoy them. OH... and Book 2 is on the way. I just hit that 75k mark over the weekend. Now, I gotta work out how this fucker ends...