WHEN STUCK I GO BACK TO BASICS
And I’m writing this post now for two reasons:
- I just had to go through this – again – and other writers might need the same trick
- When I woke up this morning and reached for something on my desk, I disturbed the page I used (photo above), scattered all the little pieces of paper, and realized I don’t need to keep them around forever, even if they did rescue me.
I’m an extreme plotter by nature and by practice and by brain damage.
Things have to be organized so I know what goes in each scene, because I can only work with the content of ONE scene at a time (and yes, if you’re wondering, I have used this trick on paragraphs, beats, and scenes as well, when my brain refused to do the organizing internally).
When I got to the current piece in the middle of the WIP, I realized that, inexplicably when I stared at it, the next scene was NOT ready for my ‘process.’
I came to a standstill
For several days.
Abortive attempts to write the next scene failed to make that scene gel, despite having a title and the usual nubs I use to attach words.
Since I was worrying about politics, and in the middle of getting vaccinated for the coronavirus, it took me a while to track down the reason: when I was doing the Great Reorganization of 2007 (GR07), I had had the same reluctance, created something that sort of worked at the time (a list of scenes covering what would happen in this part of the story), and decided to DEAL WITH IT LATER.
Unusual for me, but I was trying to get to the end of GR07, we had half the way to go, and I only had a few more days of the concentrated time I had been saving for the reorganization.
I believe in football American style they cause it punting.
In 2007 I moved on
Never thinking that it would be 2021 when I got to this point in the writing.
I was young(er). Naive(er).
Trying desperately to take that original rough (very rough) first draft of the whole story to the next level – which required the complete reorganization AND a committed devotion to upping the quality of my writing (no, you are never going to see that draft).
and it worked
I moved on. GR07 became the reality.
By dint of work, the writing problems got solved one by one.
Pride’s Children PURGATORY was written and published in 2015 (yeah, I’m slow), and I immediately moved on to NETHERWORLD.
I believe they call it a poison pill
Maybe not so bad.
But a buried little landmine all the same.
Because there was a reason. I know it now and I knew it then: this piece was going to be very hard to write.
And, as is usual with such, incredibly important.
I couldn’t handle it in 2000, when the story came to me.
I couldn’t handle it in 2007, except to realize there was no way around it, and I would have to deal with it during the writing of the second book (nameless at that point).
And I couldn’t handle it at first when it got to be late 2020 and I hit the red flag marking the mine.
I couldn’t even have written this post.
You can’t skimp on the hard parts when you write
The hard parts are WHY you, and not someone else, is telling this story.
The hard parts are where your writing should shine, and, given enough work and time, where they will.
If your story doesn’t have hard parts well executed in it, it’s not going to be the best book you can write.
Because you shirked.
I don’t shirk.
I kick and scream and complain and try to find ways around the roadblock and hope some insight will just remove it.
And then I admit it needs the work, and I do it.
On this one I had to go back to Kindergarten
Yup. Basics. Writing things on single lines. And cutting the sheet into real-life strips of paper.
And rearranging those strips, edited as necessary (in pencil), into the RIGHT order, with the right words, plus any surrounding fill text, until the whole emerged.
That’s the level I have to go back to when things get really bolloxed up for whatever reason.
Eventually, it works, and I find it all amusing. Sometimes I blog about it.
But you’d think that by now I’d be out of Kindergarten, wouldn’t you?