Based solely on wordcount, it was a pretty good week – not spectacular, but pretty good. However, for me it was really something of a home run:
Book of M:
- Background Notes Wordcount: 1,446 words
Grand Total: 1,446 words
I’ve mentioned a few times over the past several weeks that I was struggling with something of an intractable plot problem. I’d reached the start of what I plan to be the eleventh chapter of the book… and I wasn’t sure what to do next. I wanted certain circumstances to force the protagonist and co-protagonist apart in chapter 11, but I needed to solve a world-building question in order to explain how it came about. And I struggled for weeks to find a solution.
You could say I had writer’s block, but I don’t. I still made progress, I just switched gears to focus on other things – the character profiles, primarily. In the intervening time, I let my subconscious work on the problem, expecting a solution to come to me in a flash of brilliance.
At this point, I’d already discarded a couple simple half-solutions – ideas that seemed like they could be good ideas, but which didn’t feel right for the story. But I was ready to sit down this week to continue working on my outline, and yet the real solution still hadn’t presented itself to me. I resolved to write.
I’ve discussed before how I don’t really “believe” in writer’s block. How it’s a convenient fiction, or an excuse: a phrase we use to describe a number of different creative challenges that writer’s often face but each of which can be solved and overcome. If there is one great panacea to that malady we call “writer’s block”, it is this: to just sit down and write. BICHOK, I’ve heard it called: Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard. This, then, is what I did.
And I solved my problem!
But you saw that coming, didn’t you? What I did, specifically, was to sit and write a dialogue with myself. Ideally, I’d been wanting to talk this problem out with some other writerly soul, or someone who was inclined to listen and toss back ideas and questions to get me thinking in the right direction. But I did this myself, asking myself questions: what are the possibilities? What are the implications of these different options? Which ones feel right?
Here’s a short sample of the dialogue (warning, some minor spoilers may ensue). For context… Isa is the protagonist of the story, and Davin is her co-protagonist. Isa and Davin have been thrown together by… let’s say magical circumstances. The kind of magical circumstances that physically keep them together, whether or not they’d like to. The question, then… if magical circumstances have bound them together… what could pull them apart? Previously, I’d considered – and discarded – the idea that the story’s villain is responsible, somehow. But I’d decided instead that whatever was going on was not caused by human intervention:
So what causes this involuntary but otherwise natural separation between Isa and Davin? Let’s consider the possibilities. A malevolent, magical force or intelligence (i.e. another ghost) drags Davin away. A non-sentient magical force propels Davin away. Frankly… I like the idea of another ghost being responsible. But who? And why? This would give me something to work with for this chapter. Hmm. It’s possible the force that draws Davin away is a ghost, but not a wholly sapient one: the ghost of a creature, or an animal. Something that is free-ranging, unbound, and fearful.
And so on. I kept writing, asking more questions and tossing more ideas onto the page, until an answer to the question started to form. And then, as the answer became apparent to me, so too did the direction for the eleventh chapter. And a new wrinkle was added to the plot of this book. The final answer felt satisfying to me, and excited me once again to continue work on this book.
So the large majority of my wordcount for the week was in pursuit of this answer. That answer having at last rejuvenated me, I feel great about the progress I made. That’s why, for me, this week was a solid home-run.
How was your writing week?