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?)