Another Night… day 29 – another post-factum self-evidency

today’s learning:

  1. mysteries must be meticulously plotted
  2. it’s best to do #1 ahead of time

well, duh, you say, and you’re right. of course, being the college-edjimicated individual i am, i had to prove it to myself before i believed it, apparently.

so, while i wrote 3+ pages today*, i came up hard up against a bit of a self-created wall. well, more of a not-self-avoided wall. Another Night… is the first time i’ve tried to do a more direct mystery story, and it took me this long to realize that my standard outlining and pre-work is simply not enough for this. not for the mystery itself, anyway. to be convincing, to be interesting, to be, well, mysterious, there can’t be any holes. a single hole in the logic of a mystery and the entire thing comes unsealed.**

as a result of this realization, then, though a power outage due to the wind/rain/snow (yes, snow) just before noon gave me potentially more time to write, i instead spent the majority of my writing day grinding through every step and twist and turn of the mystery. this was not fun. then it was thrilling. then it was not fun. then it was still not fun. then it was even less fun. then it was seriously-this-is-such-a-stupid-idea not fun. then i found a door, then a path, then some light, and it wasn’t a train! i worked and reworked and overworked and put aside and mapped out and scribbled over and walked away and came back and scribbled some more until i finally nailed it (i think, anyway).

the outline i’ve been working from since the beginning remained intact. the events still unfold largely as i identified them then. the work came in making sure my hunches and desires matched the realistic motivations and fears and passions of the characters. i think my recent loss of clear voices had an impact here, but today’s regular writing actually brought me back in touch with them, so i suppose i was exactly where i had to be when i had to be there. 

what’s more, i realized i’d been ignoring some side characters who had some very important things to do, paving the way (or blocking it, as the case may be) for Manadan & Gupti.

 and now, it’s almost tomorrow and i’m feeling lightheaded. way late for bed.

*  including a page rewritten from some of yesterday’s work, which was a bummer but necessary

** at least it does for me. i’m reading something now and i’ve run into three such holes/contrivances in the last couple night’s readings and they are very nearly enough to put me right off the heretofore engaging book.


Comments are closed.