The Toes Know

On Friday afternoon, I had the most marvelous idea for a story. What sparked it? A random comment on Facebook. My brain was a whirling dervish of ideas, but I had to finish my writing goal for the day. I’m still trying to write the second book in my Olympus, Inc. series and knew if I didn’t reach my goal, I’d feel guilty for starting something else.

I didn’t even start the story until Sunday. I needed to think about it more. I worked on my junk room *shudders* Do you have any idea how horrible that was? It looks worse now than it did when I started. Yeah, that’s something I’ll be working on for a few weeks. But that isn’t the point of the story. Saturday I spent my day working on the house, doing laundry, and letting my mind churn.

As I settled in to watch reruns of Ghost Adventures, I decided it was time for me to plot my story. Now, for those of you who are newish to the blog, you have to understand plotting is not the way my brain works. I’ve tried it with several different stories. I’ve used different methods and still, I wander away from the plot by the time I get to writing. I hoped this time would be different.

There I was with my notebook and ink pen in hand, Zak, Nick, and Aaron scaring the hell out of each other in the background. I wrote out a quick sketch of the characters and started working on the new plot method I learned at the last conference I went to. It was easy enough; just come up with an opening scene, a black moment, and the end. Oh it was so easy! The opening scene poured out of me. I could see it in my brain and my fingers itched to get to a keyboard.

Then I looked at it. And hated it. I needed a break and that’s when I decided to paint my toenails. Maybe it would help me see what the problem was with the story I’d outlined.

As I sat there applying teal polish, I knew what the problem was. Me. I was bogging myself down with too much information as usual. When I started writing yesterday, did I take my notebook with me? Nope. I didn’t even use the same names I’d picked out. Oh, I tried. I gave that opening scene a shot and after about 1200 words, knew I hated it. A quick control+A and delete and it was gone.

I felt…relieved. I frowned at the blank screen for a few minutes and then started writing what I felt, not what I was expected to and the words flowed. 4,000 words later, I was pleased with my efforts. Is it perfect? Oh hells no, it’s far from perfect. I’m sure I’ll look at it again and adjust here, tweak there, delete here, add there, but at least it feels comfortable now.

My toes knew I wasn’t pleased with the story driven plot. I can’t do it. It makes me feel disconnected from my characters, like they just happen to be along for the ride instead of the ones driving the story. Sure, the story has to be good, the plot strong and driving, but for me it’s all about the characters. I want to love them, hurt with them, laugh with them. It’s more about how they react to their situation than what the situation is, if that makes sense.

So there you have it: the story of how my toes know more about me than I do. I never realized how smart they were. I suppose now they expect to be taken to get a pedicure and I guess they deserve it.

What do you do when you have to ponder something you’re working on? If you’ll excuse me, I need to play with my toes and tell them how glad I am to have them. (Why am I suddenly reminded of Shelly Laurenston’s The Mane Squeeze?)

10 Comments

Filed under Writing

10 responses to “The Toes Know

  1. Okay, this post rocks. You make me smile every day, Danica!!

    I can’t plot ahead of time, it stifles my creativity. Now, once I have a draft done (about 75-80k words) then I can be sure to hack up the plot, flesh things out, axe and add….Sometimes I’ll write an entire first draft without a characters name. Then, one’ll hit along side the head and I’ll put it in during revisions.

    Doing it this way, I think, leads to more revision and clean up time, but I’m okay with that. 🙂

    What color did you paint your nails?

  2. I’m completely feeling you here. I had a great story that I completely storyboarded a year ago. I was SO proud of myself, and so disappointed when I realized I had ruined it. I didn’t care to write it any longer..I was bored.
    So my current method? I jot down my beginning, what I THINK is my middle or climax scene and it’s romance, duh, I know how it ends. Then I have in mind about three scenes at a time that will keep me moving toward my middle or end. That’s it. That’s my method. What I love about it is that it leaves me plenty of room for twists/turns and for the characters to run the show. Sometimes I think I’m just adult supervision for my characters!

    • I’m almost the exact same way except I can’t even write it down…once I write it down, the fun goes out of it for me. I work with a vague idea of how/where I want the story to start and what scenes I really want in it and let the characters drive to those scenes. And yes, I’m right there with you. I was proud I was actually attempting to plot until I realized I hated it. LOL

  3. Love it!! I KNEW you had smart toes- I hate plotting- it stifles the heck out of me. So, I’m glad you hit the old cont-alt-del and started over!!

    • More and more people I’m talking to don’t plot. I wonder if everyone’s throwing the plotting rule books out the window and going all flowerchild on their manuscripts? 🙂

  4. Click

    So, the whole plotting thing isn’t working for me either. And the panster thing leaves me going back to check what I wrote, editing, and revamping the whole damn thing. But I have faith I will find “my method” soon. Smart toes there Missy. Love love loved your post!

    • Thanks, Click 🙂 I’ve been doing this for three years (seriously) and I’m still learning what works for me. Of course, what works now might not work later, so I can’t get too complacent, LOL

  5. Very cool! I love starting a new story. I don’t like to get bogged down in the details in the beginning. I just let the story flow and then go back and edit, edit, edit. I started a new mystery last Sunday and have over 11k words:) LOVE IT!!

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