Here is an almost typical writing day for me. I woke up yesterday at 5am, ate breakfast, wrote my blog entry and wrote in my journal. Then I had to drive BH 40 miles into the city so he could pick up his car. When I got back to my village, I took care of a couple of errands and wrote in our new bakery for a while. (Greco’s, for all of you guys who live near me. It’s next to the Dollar Store in Mexico. A GREAT place to write.)
When the traffic outside the bakery got too heavy, I headed back home and wrote until dinnertime. How many words did I write? I have no idea.
I was struggling and struggling with the elements of a new chapter. I knew what was going on with my character up until that chapter. I sort of knew what was going to happen after it. Chapter X, however, remained murky.
I brainstormed several courses of action my character could take. Didn’t like any of them. Checked my email. Didn’t like any of that, either. Went back to some of the primary sources that were the inspiration for this chapter. Felt like the right idea was teasing me; staying just out of my line of sight, but rushing up and poking me in the side to let me know it was there.
And I felt like an idiot for not being able to solve this knot.
I looked at the possibility that this was an unnecessary chapter. Nope. I needed it. This is a turning point chapter in which one series of events resolves and another begins. A new character was present in this chapter; he showed up two chapters earler, and I didn’t know much about him. I finally figured my character’s emotional journey in this pivotal chapter, but I was stuck on how to show how he makes that journey through action and dialog.
BH and I ate dinner. I talked to a couple of our kids and read for a couple of hours. I had planned on going back to my office to write before bed, but just couldn’t find the energy. So it was off to the shower.
My answer was in the water. This happens so frequently, I don’t know why I don’t just work in the shower ever day.
In the course of the shower, all of the answers dropped into my skull: the new character’s name, motivations and background, his connections to my Main Character, and best of all, the way this irritating chapter was supposed to unfold.
The interesting thing was that my new understanding of the new character requires me to go back two chapters where he is introduced and completely change his reaction to the Very Awful Bad Thing that happens back there. That’s today’s work.
Today’s advice: "Every writer I know has trouble writing." Joseph Heller
Today’s prompt: Part 1. Go to the Poem-A-Day archive at Poets.org. Choose three poems at random. Print them out.
Part 2. Take a page out of your local newpaper.
Part 3. Grab your scissors and cut up the newspaper and poems into narrow slips of paper that contain no more than two lines of text. When you are done slicing and dicing, mix all the pieces of paper together.
Part 4. Close your eyes and pull out a couple or three or five slips of paper. Use the words on them to spark your writing today.