Another Night… day 4 – the rollercoaster, or deja vu

rollercoaster, if you’re me; deja vu, if you’re my wife.

see, it started with my realization last night that i had a 5000 word prologue. this sent me into tailspin, which had me up early this morning trying to remedy. after posting here last night, i’d decided to try a new process for me: skipping forward.

what i’d written so far hadn’t gotten me to where i thought i was going to be at least 4000 words earlier, and i didn’t know how i was even going to get there at this point, so i told myself i had to jump ahead. i had to just leap forward and start from where the next piece of action was, the place i’d been trying to get to, and go from there. i’d leave it to the second draft to figure out how to fit (chop) the earlier piece to the later one. the important thing right now, though, was to get through the story.

of course, when i got above the garage before dawn this morning, determined to take this step, i balked.

i tried, though. i really did. i drew a line and tried to write from that next place, but it just wasn’t happening. instead, i found myself backfilling on another character altogether, which, while it produced some quality depth to that character, was not what i had in mind.

thankfully, my wife was up by then and got me down for breakfast and a walk with the dog, during which time i related my frustration with my previous night’s work and my intention to just skip forward.* cue the deja vu moment for her. she reminded me that its the same thing with every story (it’s awesome! it’s horrid. it’s awesome! it’s pathetic.).

instead of going directly back to it, then, left it. the rest of the day passed as sundays often do (nap included), and when i finally returned to the garage, prepared to take another stab, i found myself in a groove that actually made sense with what i’d written before.

cue the rollercoaster again.

maybe so**, but i’m where i need to be, now, and that’s what matters. i wouldn’t get off this ride if i could, to be honest.

so what are today’s learnings?

1 – i’ve been here before. yes, it’s a rollercoaster, and yes, i just have to accept it.

2 – the core of my prologue difficulty, i think, is that i wasn’t entirely clear about Manadan’s character. i’ve done a lot of backstory on him over the months, so it’s not that he’s someone i thought he wasn’t, but i wasn’t prepared for the depth of some of his traits, and it’s taking a little more nerve for me to be honest with and about him. once i realized this, this afternoon, and actually accepted what he was trying to do, the gates opened once more.*** once again, when i actually listen to the characters, life is much easier for all of us. not necessarily happier, though.

also, i realized i made an error in yesterday’s post. today is the 4th day of writing, not yesterday, so when i thought i was behind by a couple pages, i was actually ahead by a page, and today i left off ahead by a half page, on page 13. i’m good with that.

oh, and last night, i came across this recent post by Carrie Vaughan about making hard choices because they’re the right ones. it’s great to see this version of events (author dropping publisher A for publisher B), rather than the more normal and depressing version (publisher dropping author onto sidewalk).

* note: i did not mention the backfilling episode, but i’m willing to bet she guessed something to this effect.

** definitely so.

*** writing about him like this makes me feel like i’m making far too much of this process, as if i’m inflating the craft or whatever, but this is how it feels right now.