Sodaro's Stories

March 7, 2017

Letting go…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:32 pm
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So…I may have one or two control issues (Okay, that “one or two” is a bit of an understatement…)

One thing that being an author has taught me, is to let go of some of my control issues…for example…what a project should look like in the end. There have been many things I have tried to force into what I wanted them to be…and it worked as well as the square peg, round hole conundrum.

Another thing I have learned is that projects will get finished when they are supposed to…this is a hard one for me because I have A SCHEDULE. I have a GAME PLAN. I want these ducks lined up at this time…and oh crap…where did all the ducks go.

So what happens when I try to force plot points or formats…or try to line the ducks up at a given time to get done by my self-imposed deadline…is NOTHING. Not like…haha, nothing happens and life continues as it should…I mean NOTHING happens. Like Nada. ZILCH. Zero things happening. Which then causes me stress as I stare at the calendar and maybe, if I just stare hard enough, I can go back a few weeks and not stress and then not be staring and fretting. (Side note, where did February go????)

I trust the process. I do. It has successfully brought me to finishing and publishing 6 novels and I am about to publish #7…the process works…but it works on its own time and in its own way…and me staring at the calendar…and swearing…and pleading with the process…and putting more and more pressure on things…yeah, that is not how the process works. Who could work under those conditions.

So I let go. I stopped swearing at my calendar. I stopped frowning at my to-do lists…and I just focused on other things…and then a duck showed up…and another and another…and now, my ducks are as much in a row as they ever are…and I will finish #7 and all will be right with the world once more

October 26, 2015

Forcing a Fit (thoughts about a book’s ending)

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 9:51 pm
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I once went on a first (and last) date with a guy who told me I would be the perfect fit for him if he could just shave off some of my rough edges. While he was a horrible date, he did give me a good lesson (as most things do) for my novels.

If you are trying to force a book to flow a certain way, or especially END a certain way…you are doing what Mr. Creepy wanted to do to me (metaphorically). He wanted to take off the parts of me that didn’t fit with his preconceived idea of a mold for the perfect girlfriend instead of letting things develop to see if it could be better than the pre-existing list of what was needed for a girlfriend (yes, I am glad this conversation took place on date one).

When I am planning out my novel, I do a rough sketch of a kind of outline which is written both literally and figuratively in pencil…as in subject to change as the story grows and the characters develop.

“But wait,” you jump up and say, “isn’t this MY story? Don’t the characters have to go what I say?”

“You are fricken adorable.” I say as I pat your head. “Now sit down.”

Your characters chose you to tell THEIR story (if you want it to be YOUR story, write a memoir or autobiography). Trust me on this — this novel you are writing is about them, not you, not your ego, not your control issues. Let go of the “rough edges” you want to shave off your story and just let it become the perfect mess it was meant to be.

I use to try to command my characters take the plot this certain way so we could get to the “perfect” ending that I was SURE was what the novel needed. Now I am getting ready to self-publish my 5th novel and I can promise you — the most valuable lesson I have learned is to just let the plot happen and not try to force anything on the characters, the plot, and especially the ending.

I have learned to trust the system…part of that trust and not forcing is to let the novel percolate a bit and wait for the ending to come to me…it happens when it’s ready, like all things.¬†With each novel, I get to the point of typing “The End,” I hope that this time, the ending won’t appear to me at 2 in the morning. Maybe this time.

And to the guy who didn’t like my rough edges…I really hope you found your perfect girlfriend.

October 20, 2013

Game Plan

So those of you who have “known” me for a minute or two, know that one of my favorite things is to have a game plan, most often taking the form of a list or twelve. I love making lists…I love completing tasks on my lists, and I love love love to mark things off the list. Sometimes I will add something to my to-do list just so I can mark it off. Being a visual person, it calms me to have a game plan…to have a list…to know what my goals are and to know the steps I need to take to accomplish that goal.
I published Whatever you Make of It in 2011 and holding my first book changed my life forever. I knew at that moment, that never again would writing take a back seat to the rest of the things in my life. I was an author.
I published Arianna’s Honor in 2012 and it was just as amazing and breathtaking to hold my 2nd book as it was to hold my first one. The rest of my characters looked on and all wanted to be NEXT.
Sometimes life gets in the way of things…sometimes life works out just the way it is meant to, even if we don’t see it at the time. I will have Arianna’s Destiny out before the end of 2013 and then it is completely my game plan to have 2014 start off time of kicking things up a notch and publish more than one novel a year. I have things I need to finish and that is what the rest of 2013 will be…First and foremost it is finishing Arianna’s sequel. It will also be editing the two books in the Trust series. I will also be participating in the National Novel Writing Month with First Down which starts off my Lucky Charms series.
The best thing about a game plan is that it keeps me focused. It keeps me motivated and it keeps me on track. I have a list of things I need to accomplish for Arianna…and I am making progress on my list daily. I also have a list for what I need to do for my other projects and for the rest of 2013. Seasonal Affective is strong…but giving a list to someone with slight Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and the darkness of winter can’t possibly win.

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