Saturday, 5 December 2015

Writing Witch Lit...the Mad & Magical Way!

 From Seed to Fruition

I do love an idea. When I learned about NaNo WriMo three years ago – an annual online challenge to write a novel of 50,000 words in the month of November – something happened. Like a wild and startled horse, impulsiveness will gallop aimlessly into danger if it’s allowed to.
Nervous energy is like that.
But tame it, temper that wild spirit without breaking it and it will serve you and become one of the best travelling companions you’ve ever had.

Acting on impulse - a typical Sagittarius trait - has led me into trouble more times than I can remember and as I approached my fiftieth birthday in 2012 it I wondered if I might just be getting the hang of it. So with broomsticks crossed I made the decision to do it, have a go and write a novel in a month.
How hard could it be?
After registering my place with only a few days to kick-off, there wasn’t much time to think about it and that was a good thing. It stopped me dithering and taught me something important.
When it comes to writing, or anything else for that matter, too many options are not a good thing.

Choosing one is all that’s needed. In fact it’s the only thing that’s needed. Giving way to uncertainty and doubt soon breeds fear and then you’re stuck. I didn’t have time for that and very quickly I learned another lesson which became a constant teacher over the next month… nothing concentrates the mind like a deadline.
So I went for the write ‘what you know’ as the easiest option and - as it turned out – the most enjoyable. Without a lot of time to choose, picking from the ether became a habit I took great delight in. A title and a short description of the story was a necessary part of registering on NaNo and as ‘what I knew’ materialised into myself and the menopausal disease I had become so deeply infected by at the time – The Madness and the Magic was conceived.
Immaculately, of course.

So… I had a title and a theme was emerging which, the more I thought about, the more excited I became. Minerva appeared as a character, who I knew, would be a lot of fun to work with. If I was in for some hard, serious work then I needed that at least. I decided on Goddess names for all the female characters and without too much forethought, discovered as I got further into the story, that I had picked just the right ones for each. Rhiannon and Ronnie have a lot in common as does Sophia and even Isis evolved quite magically with her fetish for Egyptian attire. As for Minerva being a Goddess of wisdom, it’s debatable I know, but remember she is under the influence of two rather toxic things; the men-o-what-sit and brandy. One can hardly blame her for a little unruly behaviour here and there.
And of course, she’s a Witch, so throw some magic in and the plot thickens very nicely.

Once I had the idea of a title, theme, characters and what might happen to them… it began to unfold and I was ready to go.

Another lesson there… don’t get caught up in the ‘how-to’.

Once you’ve decided on an idea, begin! The doing of it becomes clearer as you go along, trust in that. You have to… It’s when the magic starts working and if you are a Witch then you can do so much to help that along. You have all the tools… use them.
 I did. My trusty Tarot were never far from me and my laptop and I consulted in them daily. In fact, therein lies the fact in the fiction. All of Minerva’s experiences with the cards were the real deal as it were. I picked them all for her and the story was led by that.
Using a magical tool really helps.
As anyone who has done NaNo WriMo will know, producing that first draft in thirty days is hard graft. It takes commitment, dedication and focus; not forgetting a big, juicy early retirement carrot for one long suffering and supportive husband. Mr. C works well with a nice bit of bait.

Writing almost two thousand words a day is not easy and unedited work was something I had to get used to, quickly. You can’t afford to be self-critical at all if you want to create quantity in anything and where there is quantity; there will be quality if you do it for long enough.
The gold is there if you keep digging for it.
...And once I got used to working with that flow of consciousness , I enjoyed the freedom and realised it was that fluidity in the writing which gave it momentum. And you have to keep moving with a story once you start… that is if you want to finish it.

 When the last day in November arrived I never thought I’d be so glad to see those final two words. The End was something I had no idea about when I started the story and I think for me, that’s what kept me going… the journey is what’s important not the destination. The excitement throughout, the sense of achievement at the end… of writing something of that length - which gives so much pleasure - is difficult to describe.
So I won’t try.
Let’s just say celebrations were in order. My fiftieth in December was a good party, a lovely Three of Cups energy to round off the completion of a project in the initial stage… Three of Pentacles!

I had written a book, a first draft. Now what?

Next instalment… Moon Books and the magic continues...











  1. Excellent post! I participated in NaNoWriMo again this year, and I also completed just over 54,000 words. I'm going to let this manuscript rest over the holidays, then I will start on the rewrite/edit process in January. Good luck with your book, and I look forward to reading it!

  2. Thank you very much Bobbi! All the best with your NaNo novel, keep in touch...and let me know if you enjoy The Madness..!