A few of you might have noticed that some of the scenes in the first chapter of The Willow, came from earlier short stories I’d written. In one of those stories, about a single mother and her two children going camping, the daughter has Down’s syndrome. Right before publishing the first chapter, someone questioned me on whether someone with Down’s syndrome could say a line she had said. Although I knew that I had researched it earlier and that it was indeed possible, I got scared that I would have to research every line that would come out of her mouth. Instead of staying true to the character, I just gave her dyslexia instead and walked away.
Ever since publishing that first chapter I’ve been kicking myself for the change, because that is just not how I write. I don’t try to create, but rather I allow the characters to be revealed, or let them unfold, before me. Since the first chapter, it’s been very clear to me that the story becomes so much more interesting when I stay true to the characters rather than being lazy. For this reason, I’ve gone back and fixed my error. So those following the story closely should take note that the little girl, Daisy, does indeed have Down’s syndrome.
I hope you’re enjoying the story. I know I am, as it is unfolding before me only slightly earlier than it is presented to you. When I published the first chapter, I had no idea how all of the characters would relate to each other. I only had a quiet notion of an endgame in mind. After the second chapter, I still had only found links for a couple of characters. Only right before writing the third chapter did I have a major epiphany about what the story should really be about. Since then, I am struggling to keep up with the revelations as they continue to come. Presently I don’t have more than one sentence written for each of the chapters left, excluding this week’s chapter that I am now working on. I only started the story with an end date. Knowing that I would be busy in December, I counted out till the last Friday in November and accordingly made the story 21 chapters.
Thank you for taking this journey with me.
Now that I’ve come clean about my writing process, tell me about yours. How do you create?
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