Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Stall then Panic then Resolution

Last night I was plugging away on Manhunter. Everything was flying along nicely. People were dying. The MCs are getting one step closer to catching the villain. Birds were singing, bunnies were wiggling their noses ever-so cutely, and all was right with the world.

Then I hit the end of the chapter, and ran face-first into the brick wall hiding there. The birdies got laryngitis, the bunnies flipped me off, and the world tilted on its axis. I had no friggin' idea where I was supposed to go next.

Okay, I had a general idea, but the specifics wouldn't come. I knew I had to get from point A to point B, but I was clueless about how I was going to get there. So what did I do? I panicked. I did the mental equivalent of running around the house with my ass on fire. It wasn't pretty in my head, trust me. And I was on a roll, too. I had over 2K written for the evening, and I was headed for a record night (with this book, anyway). I mean, geez. It was only 8:30. I still had a good hour and a half to write.

I pushed. Nothing happened. I pulled. Nothing happened. Mulish damn book. In a total huff, I saved my work and flopped in front of the TV. I didn't know what was on, and I didn't care. I was in a funk. My husband was only semi-watching himself, mulling over his own work while almost kinda paying attention to some show or other.

So there we sat. Each of us in our own little private mental warehouse, sorting through boxes and trying to make something come out right.

Bedtime for my daughter came and went. The cat did her usual thing, which is to say she demanded to be let out onto our front foyer, and then demanded to be let back in. Occasionally he changed channels, and occasionally something caught my eye enough that I watched for a second or two.

Shortly after my darling child went to bed (I could still hear her up there, but I wasn't in the mood to push it), something clicked in my head and everything fell into place. I sprang from my chair (as much as I can spring these days) and raced over to my desk. I pulled out the scrap paper I keep under my keyboard for just such occasions, and began writing. (Screw the computer - it would've just gotten in the way.) I didn't write a word toward the actual book, but I got down a whole page worth of plotting. I now know what the general plot points are for the rest of the book.

They aren't anything I'd ever share with anyone. The notes themselves are chicken-scratched bullet points that probably wouldn't make sense to anyone but me. But they are done. The course is mapped, and I'm ready to get going. "Sailing for adventure on the big blue wet thing!" (If you haven't seen Muppet Treasure Island, run out and rent it. It's a hoot.)

After plotting out the rest of the book, I know I'm going to fall well short of my projected 80K first draft. Still, with the stuff I still have to go back and insert, plus the sections where I wrote nothing but dialogue for pages and pages, I'll probably end up at over 90K for the final draft. I think I projected the end of May for the first draft finish on this one, and I'm on target. (Provided I don't hit any more stalls.) I should have the final done by the end of the summer, at the latest.

And since I'm letting optimism take hold for a moment, look for this sucker to be published sometime in the next couple years.

Now, I need to go run errands. Weee. Have a great day, everyone!


No comments: