It's amazing how, every time I take the plunge and post something really transparent, I receive an outpouring of support and camaraderie of mammoth proportions. What an immeasurable gift! It reinforces the truth that we are in this together. And it reminds me that it's okay to fall backward with my eyes closed and let others catch me.
You never let me hit the ground.
And so, armed with nearly 70 comments, in addition to tweets and personal emails, I am ready to tackle this recalcitrant plot. Well, "tackle" is probably the wrong word. These words, spoken wisely in the comment box, have hit home:
My best advice is to hold your story as 'lightly' as you can in your mind. With so much pressure on yourself (I hear you there!) to find the perfect plot, you could be squeezing your creative self a little too tightly.
That's me in a proverbial nutshell -- holding too tightly, thinking too hard, forcing myself to COME UP WITH SOMETHING OR DIE TRYING. And this approach has backfired over the past several weeks.
It's amazing how your collective advice alone has helped me to relax. Knowing I'm not alone, and receiving so much wonderful advice, has taken away the nasty free-fall feeling. I'm resting in my ability to plot this story. And it feels wonderful!
Two more comments I've taken to heart:
Just put two of your characters together and Wing it.
Why don't you try writing a couple scenes you know are going to be in the book and then come back to the plot?
Now, I'd already done the write-a-scene thing, but it didn't help much, because I was handicapped by what I hadn't figured out. Yesterday, I sat down and wrote a scene of dialogue between my protagonist and the not-so-perfect boy who turns her life upside-down. It was a Reveal Scene (love those), and it dealt with the THING. As in, the THING I still haven't defined.
Undaunted, I gave the THING a ridiculous name, and kept writing the scene. I've never been one to use place-markers, though I know it's common. It's that dang anal-retentiveness! It's "I absolutely cannot move forward if I DON'T HAVE ALL THE RIGHT WORDS!"
I got over that (for the first time, really), and wrote the scene with a place-marker. And I could already feel my mind freeing up.
“So.” She folded her arms, pretending to be casual. “The mutiny was my people’s fault, and your mother brought the SACRED DOODLEFART with her, and it’s hidden somewhere on the moon. Have I missed anything?”
Haven’s face didn’t even twitch. “That’s about it.”
“And you know this because…?”
“I’ve told you. My dad was captain of the Frontier.”
“Which makes him an expert on the SACRED DOODLEFART?”
It's silly as can be, but it's got my brain moving forward. And that's the whole point.
This whole journey is so bizarre, isn't it?
Anyway, thank you. A million times, in a million languages--thank you.
I'm looking forward to an angst-free weekend (yes, I'm claiming that right now), which wouldn't be a possibility without your help. May your writing brains be happy this weekend, too! Goodness knows you deserve it.