The ADHD Fantasy Writing Challenge: Part Two

Starting to get the hang of it

Two dogs resting their paws near an open laptop
Image by the author

Part two of my ADHD awareness month challenge, reporting daily on my progress in the writing of ADventures Heading up and Downmy ADHD fantasy novel. Image: two of my avid readers.

Day 8: An ADHD Paradox

A boy climbing a mountain
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Ok, I’ll admit it: yesterday I thought about quitting. I’ve arranged my part-1 recap post and thought this past week has been exhausting, with the daily posting.

But here’s the thing: ADHD is full of paradoxes. One of them is: the tighter the deadline, the more — and better — you get done.

Yes, it takes time to post daily on multiple platforms. Yes, I’m busy enough as it is. But… knowing I have promised to do that had me do more than my usual. And that’s all thanks to you! 🤗

Day 9: Exploring Characters

cover of “Distracted Magic” featuring the back of a winged woman, her shadow falling on an abstract whirlwind in lilac shades
Image by the author

Kay only lived for about two sentences in my early drafts. I knew she was different from the others, and so did my other characters, who feared her might — which they have never witnessed.

Choosing her as the main character in my short prequel, Distracted Magic, forced me to get to know her much more closely. Equipped with that knowledge, I am now rewriting her into the novel, enriching it with her special character.

Don’t you just love it when characters take over and have their own way?

Day 10: Decisions are a Tiny Death

A pigeon looking hesitantly down from the edge of a cliff. A sea and a remote boat are seen in the background
Image by the author

Decisions are hard. All the more so with ADHD. Not only does it require holding a lot of information simultaneously in our working memory, it also calls for avoiding hyperfixation on the problem, rendering it too wide to deal with.

In fiction, as in life, each choice I make kills the other options. If the plot goes that way, it will never go the other way. But what might have happened? Once I choose a path — in fiction as in life — the others die. I’m not one to dwell on “what ifs”, but getting to that point — making the choice — is agony. Physical stress.

So, what should it be? Will I leave an open ending? Half-open? Tie everything up altogether? Sigh.

Day 11: Making a Scene

A large table seen from above, full of pieces of paper aligned in rows and columns, and a pair of glasses. A dog stands next
Image by the author

Writing can get pretty messy. Especially when both the writer and the novel have an ADHD mind, four main characters, numerous subplots and two fictional worlds. Luckily, my natural messiness also brought about a natural tendency to order and arrange unruly things.

Exhibit 1: Scenes outline.

Yes, I needed to see them physically aligned side by side, so that I could read the scene summaries and move what needed moving. Great way to spot plot holes, too!

Day 12: The Neverending Story Rewriting

A sailboat at sea with unrealistic colors — turquoise sea and orange sky
Image by the author

I’m being held hostage by my imagination!
It’s not very far from what happens to the characters in my novel, except I’m not a character. I’m the author, and every day I spend rewriting, I get new ideas which certainly make the story better and are worth rewriting it for. Except, I don’t see this process ending…

A teacher in one course I attended said: Plan your writing, and stick with your plan. If you get a great idea midway, deviating from your plan — write it down, but ignore it until you finish writing according to plan.
To which my answer is — Ha.
No way.
(Though, this might be sound advice for non-ADHD’ers.)

Day 13: Coffee and Quantum Physics

A cat-shaped cup and two coffee sachets on a kitchen counter
Image by the author

Made myself some special coffee to deal with the final plot edits. Took one sachet out of the box, only to realize I already had one out. Makes ADHD sense.

Results: I think I’m halfway done! Among the problems yet to be solved: the one inspired by quantum entanglement, to which Albert Einstein referred as a “spooky action at a distance”. No worries, though; reading my fantasy is about the furthest from reading a physics book.

Don’t take my word for it… Read the prequel!

Images: coffee, both existing (sachet is there) and non-existing (nothing to drink yet); cat in a box, both alive and friends with the dog.

A kitten peeks from an empty cereal box on a table; a large dog’s head next to it, both looking at the camera
Image by the author

Day 14: Is Society Only as Good as Its Schools?

Image of a toy school building, and the opening text of the post
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We could never imagine a better society, if anyone capable of new ideas were to sit still, be quiet and concentrate!

(Did I mention I homeschool my kids?…)

How is this related to my ADHD fantasy writing challenge? Two ways:

1. School life is a major problem for way too many people with ADHD. For my teen main characters, too, and thus for their mom, as well.

2. Outside school, many people with ADHD flourish. The reason is stupefyingly simple: life is infinitely more diverse than the school system. Realizing this is, in fact, the beginning of my characters’ wondrous journey.

Here is to anyone who has ever suffered in school due to having ADHD. Remember that life is still difficult outside it, but the choices are much vaster. Keep your mind open, and stay true to yourself! ❤️

Day 15: Halfway Through the Challenge!

A cat yawning, witting on a colorful notebook
Image by the author

One of the hardest things for me, in any project, is the beginning. Actually starting to do something. It’s a common ADHD problem: beginning a project means shifting from one state of mind — not doing it — to quite another: doing it, and that’s… well, difficult.

It may sound strange, but no less difficult is… ending a project. It’s no surprise, when one remembers that stopping to do something is quite a shift in itself.

Although it mostly doesn’t feel that way to me, I’m actually much closer to ending my book than I’d like to. I mean, of course I’d love nothing more than to finally hold the finished book in my hand, or wave to it on my screen, but actually going through the finishing process? Ugh.

That’s where I am today: one of my editors has already commented on my new outline, as you can see in the image. Literally *on* the outline. He doesn’t seem very pleased. It isn’t quite finished, though; will hopefully be by next week!

As for the manuscript, seems like about 75% only requires plausible editing, and the rest — a deep rewriting. Not bad for half a challenge time!

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