Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Okay, I Didn't Mean It Literally

So yesterday, I write my blog post with the plan in mind to go to my office and write for at least an hour, maybe two, before heading in to work at 2:00 (I'm filling in for someone on vacation). I said I would write "at least a paragraph" not so much as a goal, but as a way to lower the pressure on myself.

So I finish the blog post, mouse around a little, then get ready to take my shower...

And the phone rings.

It's one of my employees who's not on vacation, His daughter is sick, and he needs to leave. I have no one else to cover. I bring my daughter home from kindergarten, then go in early, and work from 11:20 a.m. to 10 p.m. Then once I'm home, I quickly check my e-mail before going to bed, because I've got to work at 6 a.m. this morning due to another of my employees being out of town.

So in an effort to not make myself a liar (yet again), I wrote two paragraphs in longhand while I was waiting in line at the school. It wasn't frantic action, but it was from the scene in question, so I say it counts.

On the good side, I was able yesterday to look beyond the end of Act II and begin planning the sequence of events in Act III more clearly. That's been one of my major worries with this book, and what has killed other promising projects of mine.

I seem to plot almost subconsciously. As I'm working out my present scene, my mind is often looking ahead to see what I can do with what I've currently written. When I outline, I'll come up with a general direction I want things to go in, but I'll often fudge the details of how they get there.

This is not an excellent working method. If I am unclear on where something is going, or why something is happening, I end up slowing down, even stopping for weeks and months at a time, while my subconscious tries to make all the pieces fit. This has killed my last two book projects. On Angel Baby, I wrote what I thought was a pretty good first act, but then stopped dead, after something like three aimless pages of Act II. On Flip, I wrote almost two-thirds, then decided I'd made a wrong turn and backed up to the halfway point (after about a year off). I managed to get myself almost up to the place I'd quit again, and it was better, but I still couldn't feel where I was going.

And it really sucks, because there's a lot of good stuff in both books, but if I can't make myself find a believeable way to get from here to there, my subconscious is unable to just "get something down on paper" and fix it in therewrite. I just stop, and no amount of wishing will fix it.

Got to go to work. Another paragraph today, maybe, then real writing tomorrow.

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