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Sir Bear on the deck of the Resilience overseeing the work to get us shipshape for the next adventure. Come hell or high water, we set sail on the 15th.
As we continue our voyage into the heart of 2024, I find myself simultaneously navigating the tumultuous seas of life and the writer’s craft. It’s no secret that my private life has been reeling for the past year, but this week, one of the biggest reasons for this may finally be resolved. Fingers crossed. Now, if that happens, I may finally be able to get my author’s hat back on again and that would make everything easier. And better.
My head is spinning with ifs and buts at the moment, and that made me think of a crucial tool in our literary arsenal: the Writer’s Compass. Metaphorical as it may be, I believe each writer has one, but it may not be there from the start. And sometimes the bugger gets lost in the fog and we have to go look for it again. In essence, this compass is a tool that can guide us through the storms of distraction and keep us on course in our storytelling journey.
I remember the last time I lost mine. It was in the early days of the pandemic and I was sitting with three unrelated manuscripts that I knew would have to become one. A series of related stories set in the same universe. But how? My mind was like a map cluttered with too many routes, and although each one seemed promising enough, none of them were leading anywhere. This was of course my sprawling Ulfrheim Saga, rooted in Norse mythology and Scandi folklore. I had so many characters, so many subplots, so many candidates for their own books, plus the weight of the vast source material that I want to do as much justice as a writer can hope to do. I’m telling you, navigating those waters without losing sight of my narrative shore was a challenge.
One day, as I was wrestling with Horse, a particularly stubborn character in the Ulfrheim universe, it finally dawned on me that the bleedin’ compass had gone missing! Without it, my sense of direction was off. I’d been so caught up in the whirlpool of possibilities that I’d lost focus on the true course of the story I wanted to tell. What I needed was to find my North Star again.
Finding My North Star
I have written about the North Star before. The guiding light. The focal point. She’s a constant in my life, so you’d think I would remember to keep an eye on her at all times, right? Not so, I’m afraid. The old spoonie brain of mine works on some kind of random access pattern, and I’ve learned to roll with it. So, in the midst of a particularly intense argument with Horse, an old Scandi proverb came to mind: The wise man sits and waits for the right path to appear. I can be impatient when I need things to move so we can proceed, but now these words struck a chord with me and I soon figured out why.
What is the heart of my story? That was the question I had forgotten to ask. I knew the answer for each of the three stories I was merging, but I’d been so busy trying to get timelines and plot pieces to fit that I hadn’t asked the same of this new creation. What is the heart of this story? What is the heart of Ulfrheim? And there it was, my North Star, shining as brightly as ever before. A fixed point in the night sky of creativity to guide my way.
It was time to trim the sails. I began to cut away the excess that didn’t serve my core narrative, and there was a lot of it. Every character, subplot, and lore element had to justify its place on the journey. If it didn’t align with my North Star, it had to be left at port. It was a process of honing and refining, of finding the balance between the richness of the Norse mythology and the clarity of the tale I was trying to weave.
The first book in the series to be officially published is on pre-order now for an August release. (I have shared some drafts on Wattpad and on aswewrite.co.uk before, and more of them will be made available to our members this year.) It’s been extremely stressful not to be able to work on it as much as I would have wanted this past year, but sometimes life do be like that. I found my writer’s compass, but I needed a North Star to shine on my private life too. With a bit of luck, the two are about to fall into the same orbit again, and I’ll be able to spend March to July with Edda and her difficult Horse. Sometimes I have no idea what she sees in him.
Where Is Your Compass?
How is life treating you these days, Messmate? Whether you’re here as a reader, a fellow writer, or both, you have at least one compass in your toolbox too. What is your North Star? In writing, in reading, or in life itself? Do you know where it is right now, or have you lost it? As a writer, whether you’re penning a saga, a short spicy story, or even a blog post like this one, having a compass to guide you can make all the difference. And it’s not just about getting to the destination; it’s about the journey. A clear direction ensures that every word, every sentence, sails towards the heart of your story. Interestingly enough, the same is true in life where words become actions and habits.
This week, I challenge you to identify, or locate, your North Star. To reflect on what truly matters in your life and in your writing. And if this exercise leaves you feeling adrift, remember that sometimes, realigning your compass can be as simple as asking yourself, What is at the heart of my story?
Let’s keep our Writer’s Compasses attuned to our North Stars as we continue on our course through 2024. I believe we can navigate the oceans of imagination, no matter what life throws in our way, and reach the shores of unforgettable tales together. What do you think?
Until next week, keep your compass true and your inkwell full. And remember to do something each day just because it makes you happy.
Puss & Kram,
ABOUT LINNEA LUCIFER
Linnea Lucifer is the Captain of the imaginary, yet very real, pirate ship Resilience and her merry crew of indie authors and omnivorous readers. But that is not all – amateur liar, weaver of stories, peddler of merch, lifelong spoonie, ancient dragon lady and Maddox Rhinehart’s irreverent pet are a few more words often used to describe the bearer of many names.
The Captain was named after a delicate little flower that grows in mossy, Swedish pine forests, and a certain fiery fallen angel. She spends most of her days daydreaming and writing fantasy, smut and painfully crappy poems. A diva of delight, she takes great pleasure in everything that tickles the senses and adds a sprinkle of magic and spice to our world.
Linnea writes fantasy rooted in Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore under the pen name Saga Linnea Söderberg. She also writes Sweet’n’Spicy Spoonie romance together with Leto Armitage under their joint pen name Linn Rhinehart.