Thursday, April 22, 2010

On Writing and Digging Out of Holes

(Note: This is not me.)
There comes a point in every novel (at least for me) when the momentum slows, and the characters seem to have retreated to their trailers to watch the TV shows I hate, and the internal editor wants to go back and rip apart the past 38,000 of 40,000 words. About that time, my mouth and stomach fight about whether I'm really hungry, and my hands try to convince my brain that they are better employed holding a mop or re-arranging furniture. Of course, my Muse if tempting me with the next story, while "Mom brain" is running a list of things I should do instead.

Ever get like that? Like I said. it might just be me.

I'm sure it's because I'm a pantster. By the time I get to the middle of a manuscript, I'm deep into the plot and characters, and have the subplots. I've been deep in a hole. digging away happily until I suddenly realize that that's a *deep* hole I'm standing in, and if I gave any thought about getting out, it was probably to have an arrow pointing to a rope. That rope--my vague idea of how it all ends--looks pretty wimpy and un-secure right then.

By now, I know better than to panic. My characters know how the story ends. They always have a way out: a nice set of instructions for turning the rope into a ladder or, on occasion, a secret underground road. However, I have to keep digging and forming the hole in order to find it. It's just that by now, we're both tired of me digging.

So what do I do? Depends. I may ask for a map (a.k.a. an outline) or a hint (brainstorming). I may look for help by asking my husband or friend or reading. No matter what I do, however, I keep digging.

I'm at 40,000 words. LaCenta, one of Neeta's apprentices, has not only re-killed her first zombie, but captured its murderer. Totally unexpected!

1 comment:

Walt said...

I think it was "Megaphone" Mark that once asked, "Why is it when you guys dig yourselves into a hole, you start calling it a 'tunnel?'" So, why not just keep digging and turn it into a tunnel? It's only a matter of shifting the vector.