Colette Ballard, author of the new YA novel Running on Empty, is here today to talk to us about something we find very important, Trusting Your Instincts as a writer. After the post be sure to enter the giveaway for a $50 Amazon gift card and other tour goodies!
FOLLOWING YOUR INSTINCTS
By Colette Ballard
There are two questions I get all the time and both answers are based on following my instincts:
Q: How did you decide to write in the young adult genre?
A: It was never an actual decision. As scary as this may sound (to the average person) I just listened to the voices in my head and went with it.
Obviously, I’m not a teenage girl any longer, and I’ve never been a teenage boy, but for whatever reason, that has been the age group I’ve heard and seen in my head. Maybe that says something about my maturity level—probably, but I believe it also says something about not fighting story ideas or voices. My best work always seems to happen when I go with the flow.
There have been times that I’ve tried to write a story or ‘finish’ writing a story that I just wasn’t ‘feeling’. It’s like trying to fit a gumball into an electric socket…or something.
Q: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A: Definitely a pantser! As much as I’d like to be a plotter, it just doesn’t work for me. One time I spent three months trying to plot out a novel because I thought it seemed ‘easier’. It makes since that before you start climbing Mt. Everest you have a game plan and a map, right?
Trying to plot made me crazy—well, crazier. I sincerely attempted to follow craft book suggestions, advice from other writers, and I stretched my brain trying to make an outline work thinking it would save time and revisions in the long run. After hitting a brick wall, I set the roadmap aside and finally allowed myself to start writing. To my horror, an un-planned, un-plotted, un-wanted new guy showed on page one. One!
He was not on my ‘map’! Anywhere. He was supposed to be some random guy, but there was so much chemistry between him and my MC, I started falling for him. Still in denial that this guy could come in and decimate three months worth of plotting within just three pages, I gave it to my critique partner.
She loved the pages and the guy, but I wasn’t quite ready to admit failure—yet.
Me: “But he’s not THE guy.”
Her: Eyebrows raised. “Oh, he’s the guy.”
Me: Crumbles forward onto table at Taco Bell. “I knoooooowwwww.”
Three months of plotting down the drain, but a fantastic lesson learned: Don’t fight what’s inside, be quiet and listen, and go with my gut instinct.
Whatever genre you write, no matter if you’re a pantser or a plotter, it’s important to listen to your instincts. That said, don’t be afraid to play around and try lots of things to find what works for you!
“Raw, romantic, and suspenseful!” — Katie McGarry, Bestselling author of Dare You To
What does it feel like when you die—in those final moments? Do you feel the physical pain, or just the pain of your regrets? What does it feel like when you realize you can’t answer these questions because you’re not the victim?
You’re the killer.
River Daniels lives an ordinary life as a high school junior growing up in the confines of rural Texas until her boyfriend’s brutal attack leaves her both a murderer and a fugitive. When River’s closest girlfriends come to her aid, they make a hasty decision to not only help her, but leave their own troubled lives behind and join in her escape. The girls manage to elude police for months, but with every near-miss, River’s life spirals further out of control, until she finally hits rock bottom. Realizing she must stop endangering her friends and find evidence proving she acted in self-defense, the girls decide to make a risky move. River must face her ugly past and the one person she was protecting the night her world caved in, the guy she has loved for as long as she can remember.