Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Getting Back to Work

Well, it's not as if I haven't been working lately. I wrote a short story just a couple of weeks ago as a matter of fact. But I had a novel that I'd been deeply into, when I realized I'd taken a horrible wrong turn in the plotline. So I decided to back up about fifty pages and have another run at it.

Total blockage. Someone in my writer's group suggested putting it in a drawer for six months. I thought, "I'll try one month. I really need to get this finished." One months later, I wrote about a page and put it down again. Two months later, nothing. Now it's going on nine or ten months; every time I would think about going back to it, I would get another short story idea. "I'll just do this one more story, and then back to the novel, promise." That was five or six short stories ago.

And then last week, I saw one of the members of my writing group looking over notes for a book project she was working on. They were very extensive, pages and pages devoted to this or that character, and I began to feel guilty. And I thought, "I should try that again. Do some more structural work, some character exercises, get back into the rhythm." (The novel I was working was one I'd planned to plot out carefuly, but I got excited and jumped the gun, writing an opening that just forced me to keep pushing deeper into the story, until suddenly I was too far in without a map. I wandered around a while yelling, "Help, I'm lost," but that didn't work.

So I searched around and tried a couple of structural things and found one that seems to be yielding some initial results. We'll see how far I get this time.

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