In the early morning, half-awake, snuggled and cozy time, I like my mind to drift to my story, imagining what comes next until it’s vivid and then thinking about the words that make it as vivid to someone else. Lately, not so much. Lately, I think about all sorts of other stuff, most of it boring. Like, can I possibly repair the front door this year or am I going to need that money to pay taxes? And is my computer going to survive or will today be the day that the N key finally gives up? (Not today, yay, although I have to bang quite hard to get an 8, which fortunately is not often so necessary as an N.) Also, how the hell did I get poison ivy and is it ever going to go away? That one takes up far too much of my brain because, of course, it itches when the allergy drug wears off. It’s not so bad during the rest of the day.
Anyway, this morning I tried desperately to force my mind to stay on Grace, because I am just struggling. I tossed out my outline and my plan a long time ago because it was going nowhere and now I am lost in the murky middle. I’ve got ideas, but I can’t seem to navigate my way to them. The timeline of the story was supposed to be months — we’d go from meeting in late Feb through March and April to Natalya’s wedding in early May and Akira’s baby in late May, and the climactic scenes would all take place in the hospital while Henry was being born. Instead, all of my action so far has taken place in four days–from a Tuesday to a Saturday morning. First of all, that doesn’t feel like nearly enough time to fall in love, but that’s just what Grace is doing (and I kind of think Noah was already there from minute one) and secondly, if 2/3 of the book takes place in three days, how does the last third take three months? It’s frustrating me. I have a terrible, terrible temptation to start editing, but I am resisting with all my strength, because I know where that path leads.
Meanwhile, could I keep my mind on Grace? Why no, I could not. It kept drifting to an idea for a NaNo project where I might actually be able to write 50K words in 30 days. Done diary-style, so first person, which gives lots of room to babble. The story opens the day the aliens arrive. The aliens make some announcement, which transmits everywhere there are screens and radios, interrupting all broadcasts, and then release a sparkling dust over the planet that looks like clouds of pollen. Our POV character is a twenty-something female narrator living in Seattle, so she can record in her journal both the news of the day, how people are reacting world-wide, what people think it is, and her experiences of the day, how she’s interacting with the people around her, and her own priorities. The dust–and this is clearly my desire to play in the Agents of SHIELD world, but that’s okay, there’s no such thing as a new idea–gives people super-powers or powers of various sorts. Now, would this turn into a reasonable book? I have no idea. But I do think that I could write 50K words in 30 days based on that idea, because it has so many, many possibilities. Any time I get stuck, hey, new character with new super-power. Or new speculation on what the aliens have done and why. New translation of their message. All sorts of possibilities. New danger for the heroine, new romantic love interest for her… yep, this is what I’m thinking about when I should be thinking about Grace.
Of course, if I’m not going to be thinking about Grace, probably I should be thinking about getting a job. Or at least earning money with some actual freelance work. Hmm, and the moment I started typing that, all the dogs (three of them today, because Gizmo is visiting) began shifting around, B snuggling closer, G turning circles, Z trying to get onto my lap. Either they recognize me having stressful thoughts or they’re ready for walks. Or both.
When I started writing this, I had some specific story I meant to write and it had nothing to do with anything that I’ve typed, but I have also totally forgotten what it was. Oh, well, if I think of it, it’ll give me something to write about tomorrow! Happy writing, all my fellow November writers! May your words flow like… huh, all the things that come to mind flow terribly. May your words flow better than molasses and ketchup and chocolate syrup. May they leap out of your fingers and onto your pages with gleeful abandon. 🙂
Judy, Judy, Judy said:
Once I wrote a poem about words flowing out of my fingertips. I have no idea where it is right now or I would dig it out for you. Alternate idea about why the dogs suddenly cuddled you – they know a j.o.b. means leaving them alone for long periods in the day. Dogs are smart that way. Speaking as one who has a job and wishes she could stay home and write – work on Grace!
From John Green who wrote The Fault In Our Stars (which I haven’t read) “I just give myself permission to suck. I find this hugely liberating.”
I wish I could figure out how to make my permission to suck stick! I try to give it to myself but as soon as I relax, my perfectionism starts to sneak back in. And it’s not like anything I write is anywhere close to perfect anyway, but the tweak, tweak, tweak thing takes so much time!
What a dilemma you’re having.I wonder if you can stretch the story out by having Noah be contacted by Grace’s father, who has suddenly disappeared. Her father could ask Noah to come help free him or do something for him. Just brainstorming here… Good luck with your little pond of quicksand — perhaps taking the dogs for a walk will enable you to sort through things and find the right track to follow…
Actually, while I was walking the dogs I DID have an idea — and it may be the idea I need to make everything work out exactly right. I’m hoping so, anyway…