Breakdowns & Panic AttacksCharacter InvasionsCharactersSynthesis

I’m Having A Breakdown; Also, The Lovely Heather McCorkle Gets Invaded By Her Character

Don’t forget to enter The Clearing Giveaway Part Deux, running through the end of May!

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If I were to start this post with something like, “My, the end of the school year is busy!” or, “Goodness, when did life get so crazy?” or, “Hey, I’m not sure how much more of my disorganization and complete lack of coping skills I can handle,” well, I’d be totally accurate. And I’d also be making a MASSIVE understatement.

I know everyone’s life is crazy so I won’t pretend mine is any more so, but let’s just say that the tornado aftermath + some very restless and unmotivated students + one very restless teacher + a writerly breakdown + an impending beach trip + a stack of papers to be graded that is (no kidding) six inches thick = Anne Riley running around with hair on fire and flailing muppet arms.

That mental image, by the way, was stolen from both Mireyah Wolfe and Sara McClung, who are far wittier than I will ever be. Hence the mental image stealing.

What’s really got me so worked up is the fact that, with SYNTHESIS in the hands of one final (and extremely capable) Beta, I decided to begin a new novel.

And you know what happened?


These characters are SPEAKING to me. Their stories are FLOWING from my brain through my fingers to the page with almost no effort. The story is FREAKING AWESOME.

And by comparison, I’m not sure what I want to do with SYNTHESIS anymore. Do I want to go on sub with it and just see what happens? Would I want to write sequels to it if it got picked up? Should I finish this new shiny, magical novel and send that on sub instead?

My stomach hurts, so let’s move on.

Heather McCorkle has subjected herself to the Character Invasion exercise, and let me tell you, she had quite a breakthrough. In her own words, this is what writing a Character Invasion did for her:

“When I sat down I had no idea what I was going to write because this story is just starting to come together in my head. I haven’t written a word yet because I’ve been struggling. Like Mercedes I had an “Ah ha!” moment while writing this entry. Thank you so much Anne, and you lovely readers, for inspiring me to do this and for helping Lea come to life for me.”

Hooray, Heather! So without further delay, here is Heather’s Character Invasion with Lea.

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A cool breeze blew in through the window beside my desk. Odd, I don’t remember leaving that open.

“If you do not stop tapping that pencil I’m going to break it in half,” an unfamiliar female voice said.

I looked up just in time to see a blond girl of about sixteen plant her butt on my desk, crinkling the papers I had been attempting to write my outline on. She crossed her arms over her bright yellow tank top and looked down her petite nose at me.

“You’ll never figure out my story that way. You’re trying too hard,” she said.

I put my pencil down – out of her reach – and gave her my full attention. “Then what do you suggest I do Lea?” I asked.

Her green eyes bored into me as she blew her gum into a huge pink bubble and popped it. Impatience ate at me as she slowly drew the deflated gum back into her mouth. She tapped the index finger of her right hand against her temple. The bracelet of colorful glass beads around her wrist bounced with each tap.

“Get out of here.” Her finger dropped down to point at her heart. “And get in here,” she finished.

Clarity struck me with so much force that I was unable to reply. It must have shown on my face because she gave me an impish smile and nodded. I reached for my pencil. When I looked back at her she was gone, leaving the curtain blowing in the breeze.

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Thanks, Heather! That was great!

You can find Heather at her blog and on Twitter.

If you would like to send me a Character Invasion scene to be posted on this blog, go here to read the instructions and then get in touch with me via the contact page. I’d love to have you!

13 thoughts on “I’m Having A Breakdown; Also, The Lovely Heather McCorkle Gets Invaded By Her Character

  1. Yay for character epiphanies!! Anne, I’m so excited to hear about this new idea when it’s ready. Good luck deciding what to do with Synthesis. Writing is full of such tough decisions, isn’t it? I just went to a writers conference that opened my boundaries and now I’m doing another substantial rewrite of my WIP. Villains and romances will be WAY better than they are currently. Can’t wait! But I envy you the excitement of starting a brand new story. Have fun!

    1. It is totally exciting. I think maybe I need to go to a conference, although I can’t cough up the cash to go to the big ones. Thanks for the excitement!

  2. Nice breakthrough, Heather! Good luck with Lea. She seems like a fun but deep character.

    Anne, yay for your new idea! I love it when the story flows so effortlessly. But, it does sound like you have a tough decision to make. I guess I don’t see why you can’t do both? Why wait for this shiny new idea to go through the entire process if you already have something close? I guess I just like to have as many irons in the fire as possible. Sounds like a question for your agent, too, though. Which would she be more excited about subbing? Good luck with the new WIP AND the decision!

    1. Yes, it is definitely a question for my agent, and we’re supposed to talk on the phone sometime this week. I don’t know what she’ll want to do. So hard to decide!

  3. Yay for Heather! And lol about the mental image 🙂

    Isn’t it AWESOME to have a story flowing so well? Wish I had any advice about your dilemma about subbing… but I have NO forte in that area!

    1. Ugggggh it’s so nauseating. I’ve been working on Synthesis for like EVER and now I’m all, “Oh, maybe I’ll just use it for kindling.” *cries*

  4. I’m excited to hear about your new project too Anne! And thank you so much for having me. Writing this was a defining moment that opened up my muse and I can’t thank you enough for that.

    Kristi, she is defintely going to be fun!

    Sara, it is awesome! Thanks for your sympathy on subbing. Just knowing I’m not alone helps.:)

      1. Well, if you decide that it should not see the light of day, I will treasure fond memories of reading it instead of working on school stuff. 🙂

  5. This was FANTASTIC! I love how our characters are like, “Shut up and stop making it so hard. Sheesh.” This was really fun to read, Heather. Thanks for the series, Anne!

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