Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jotsome and Fletsam

Well, I didn't come anywhere close to getting my word count to where I wanted it to be in November. The combination of a magazine closing and a general malaise sank my writing in the gutter for the second half of the month. But I'm doing my best to bounce back in December, putting in some time every weekday. I want a novel--this novel--and the only way I'm going to get it is if I write it.

But I have to say, God is it awful sometimes.

Take today, for instance. I realized in writing yesterday's section that I missed out on a crucial action that anyone in my protagonist's situation would do. So I broke yesterday's section apart and wrote a scene in the middle where he does that thing--spending some time looking around for someone. Problem is, I knew he wasn't going to find who he was looking for--the plot demands a bigger entrance later on. So essentially, I was sending my character on a wild goose chase.

I can think of three ways that sort of scene gets handled in a finished book. 1) My protagonist succeeds in finding Character B -- which would pull apart later plot threads, but might wind up for the better. I won't know until this draft is done, if then. 2) My protagonist goes seeking Character B, but finds something else important... say, Item C. This is probably my favorite way to handle this, as long as I can keep it suspenseful. Problem is, I've got no idea what sort of item, fact, clue or trap C could be right now, and spending 1,000 words on a midnight stroll didn't quite get me there. Or 3) The scene winds up being cut, and only referred to so that the character and the author have covered the bases. It moves things along, at least.

Thing is, however it gets eventually handled, it won't be handled how I handled it this afternoon--by writing a thousand-word shaggy dog story that covers the bases in the longest lap possible. There's something in there... but I don't know what it is, or, at the moment, how to get it out.

Now, whatever my illusions are, I never expected to keep all the stuff I'm writing during this draft. But it still sucks to know that even as I'm writing--but also to know that if I don't write this part now, I won't be able to make my brain continue on to a point that might have a chance of surviving a revision.

Ah, well. As long as I'm moving in some direction, I can arbitrarily call if "forward," I guess.



bastard central said...

what you need is a good solid macguffin to work this one out

Rob S. said...

mmm... egg macguffin....