I’m having trouble getting started after a day away, because of roofers hammering on the roof all day yesterday – and because I have to stop and think at a scene I thought was done.
It is easy to lose faith when it’s been a long slog, it seems I’m no closer to the end than I was three months ago (I honestly believed I’d be published by now), and I run into what turns out to be a minor rethinking in a scene that was hard to write.
It’s not the scene.
I think I know what to do, and it’s a minor set of corrections to make reality and fiction overlap somewhere in the middle. The rule is: if you’re going to use the real world, either do it accurately, or CHOOSE to do it differently.
I don’t know why it seems necessary to me to anchor this book in the real world and time – I think it has something to do with making the implausible seem eminently possible at the end.
It isn’t even a requirement – fiction does NOT have to make sense.
But I’ve chosen to anchor many parts in the real world (for my values of ‘real’), so it threw me when I thought I had done so, and Google Earth showed me I had not.
Why blame Google Earth?
Well, because there was a car trip in there (during which some serious thinking is going on), and it went from a slightly fuzzy place (Kary’s house) to a very real place where I’ve been myself, and which is the reason this part of the story got set in New Hampshire.
So I thought I was on solid ground and had planned this out – and that the hard part was giving a framework to the thinking going on, NOT the car trip it is inserted into.
(BTW, notice that I’m not mentioning WHICH trip I’m referring to – don’t want to spoil the magic if there is any.)
I think this is more symptomatic of FINISHING than of any small flaw in the plot or writing.
It’s the EXCUSE
The reason why this long effort can simply not be finished, ever.
And once I stop and write this, thus taking all these horrifying doubts from the inside of my brain, where I am incapable of sorting them out (CFS brain fog redux!) to the cold hard (okay, hot hard – it was over 100°F here yesterday – those poor roofers!) light of day, then I see its size (not so big) instead of its shadow (humongous), and I can think of getting back to work.
Steven Pressfield (Turning Pro and others) calls this ‘Resistance’ and reminds us that the apparent size of Resistance is related to the success possible just around the corner. As you get closer to your goal, the Resistance grows (because, I think, your self is trying to protect you from the negative consequences of success such as NOT having success or having success that is too big for your britches or whatever). So you won’t get hurt.
This is getting a little boring.
So I take all this garbage out of my head, put it on the page (thus proving I am NOT blocked, at least not in writing to you, Dear Diary), and can examine it dispassionately.
It’s just a small bump in the editing.
It is easily fixable.
When it’s fixed, the next bump will appear on the horizon, and I will deal with it.
And there will be more.
And then, just as in all the tasks before, from writing to cover to formatting to, well editing), it will be over.
The TO DO list is FINITE.
Thanks for listening, Dear Diary.
PS Stories of similar will be commiserated with, encourgament met with great approval, and will accept chocolate (virtual if that’s all you got)