Don’t you just love it when you awake thinking this day will be like no other, only to find that there is no milk left, your last clean pair of pants has become a bed for your cat and somehow(!) the leftover dinner that was destined to be your lunch has been consumed by the midnight munchies? Then moments before you walk out the door, seconds out from being late you discover that your keys have mysteriously vanished into the ether? Yeah, me too.
Luckily I have the answer! Consider it fuel.
Yeah, sorry. I can’t fix your lack of time management and organisation, try Pinterest, they have some brilliant ideas on organising your life and getting your arse from A to B. But I can direct your ire to a more productive outlet: your writing. Which, I mean, is why you’re here right?
Reality is a hard task master, and she waits for no one. Even with the best of plans, one misstep will have you scrambling to keep up. So instead of fighting the flow, chill and take notes. (I need to repeat this to myself daily…)
A few weeks back I woke up with the beginning of a chest infection, it hurt to breathe and I lay in bed thinking I need to remember this. This pain is useful. Because it is! Every life event, every mistake and their consequential feelings can be used to make your writing more realistic. Those details are what draw your readers into your story and anchor them there. They’re what make your book a ‘can’t-put-it-down’ book.
Even if those details normally don’t fit into your genre… Say you write fantasy. Running out of milk probably won’t fit, but you can use other details instead. Say your character tried to leave and s/he tripped over their shoes, landed on their arse gaining bruises for days. You’d be pissed too, and it adds another layer to your character, who -if they’re in the first phase of their development- are potentially a bit too good and not quite flawed enough to be real.
If you’re writing urban, you can add all those little things in if you want to set your characters up for a bad day, and you know just how to make it so they start their day off good. Use the details from your own life, or your friends, to create a reality in your fantasy. Not everything goes according to plan, and sometimes all it takes is one tiny little thing to be the straw that breaks the camels back.
As I’ve said before, I am a chronic underwriter. My first few drafts are bare-bones, with little to no details. You could be in a house dozens of times and not even know if the floor is hardwood, rugs, or carpet. You’d have no idea what the house looks like, where it is, or how many rooms it has. My editor pointed it out to me and it is so very true. A home tells so much about the people who live there. So I added details.
So go and add those details. Think up the worst ways to annoy your character. Have them lose their keys for the fourth time that week. Have them be too tired to notice that the milk is expired. Go and create your reality within the fantasy!
Have fun 😛