Tag Archives: decisions

Coral? Rose? Raspberry? Fuchsia?

17 Nov

It occured to me, two seconds ago, that writing a novel can feel like planning a wedding.  

When my husband and I planned our wedding, I was absolutely determined not to be one of those brides who gives herself three thousand choices, only to find herself overwhelmed and drained come wedding day.  I headed to Barnes & Noble, purchased a tiny black Moleskin notebook — more compact than an address book, in fact — and vowed anything that won’t fit in here doesn’t need to happen.

Our engagement was one day shy of three months, and the planning went exactly as we hoped.  The secret: having a fiancé who was totally helpful and awesome.  The other secret: simplicity of options, which led to easier choices.

Brides so easily get stressed out when they give themselves a thousand options —
once you decide on pink (which I did not), you then have to choose between coral, rose, raspberry, fuchsia, and on and on and on.  Same with flowers, dresses, music, hairstyle, makeup.  We made quick decisions, rather than traipsing through the list of options spanning from earth to moon.  Everything turned out perfect, and beautiful, and we were able to enjoy the day.

Now.  

Novel-writing and wedding planning — where am I going with this, you ask?  

Writing the second draft, for me, has been all about choices.  I know what I want to happen, but there are so many options at how things happen.  Right now, I’m working out the last third of the novel.  There are a few pieces of information that need to be revealed before the climax, a few decisions my characters need to make, a few more conflicts that need to be had.  Working out how all these things fit together is like piecing together a puzzle, and it takes a mountain of patience.  

For example, there is a pivotal piece of information that’s about to get revealed.  I’m toying with two major options: S tells E the truth directly, which leads to one type of resulting conflict — or — E finds out the truth from someone else, which still leads to conflict.  S telling E the truth directly feels like a better pay-off of their existing tension, but E finding out from someone else fits better with the way the climax needs to play out.  Trying to make the best of both worlds — direct confrontation while maintaining the buildup I have in mind — requires tweaking with the ideas in between.  

Planning our wedding was much easier than writing this book.  

This would have been a more simple task had I limited my options (created fewer characters and a less complex plot), but I did not.  I could always go back and cut out the complexities, but I really like them and am determined to make it work.  How satisfying it will feel to get the details out of the way so the story can shine!  I may have to wallow in a mucky swamp of decisions for a while, but not forever.  Until then, it’s one plodding step at a time, until the plotting is sorted out and my decisions fade to invisible.

When guests go to a gorgeous wedding, they don’t see the infinite pool of choices the bride waded through to come up with the finished product.  No, they see the bride and groom, the love story, the marriage — a ceremony taking place in the context of polished beauty.  I want my novel to be the same.  No one needs to know the story could have happened any other way.  

Two Roads Diverged in a Wood…

2 Nov

Fear, n. | An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

Deep down, I know I have to write the story¹.  At least, I know I can’t ditch it purely based on fear, or an emotional challenge.  You guys are right, and I thank each and every one of you who took the time to read my (very long) post and give such thoughtful feedback.  

Yesterday morning, I woke up on my own at 6:45am, ready to write.  What was I ready to write?  I still had no idea when I sat down at my laptop.  So, I listened, open to all possibilities, and just went with what I heard.  What I came up with stars the main character from the book I’ve been debating about, but already, she’s taking on a life of her own.  

Honestly?  I’m not sure if I’m writing the book I told you guys about, or a different one altogether.  There are two distinct directions I could head with this story, and I’m undecided at the moment.  Right now, I’m only 1639 words in, and it could work either way.  By the end of today, I hope to have boosted my word count in a huge way, and make a final decision.  

Even as I write this, I’m leaning toward taking the difficult path, mainly because the premise intrigues me so much.  I think the ideas I had for the more pleasant path could mesh well with what I have and form some nice, complicated layers to the already complicated plot.

Oh, by the way, it looks like Mr. Cat may go to Mars, after all.  My sweet husband, after some serious hesitation, gave in and wrote several hundred words yesterday, starting with what was pretty much only a joke about our cat.  He doesn’t normally do this kind of stuff – he’s extremely smart and creative, but hasn’t dabbled too much in writing.  I heard his first few paragraphs, you guys, and they are SO GOOD.

Thanks again for all your wisdom, everyone.  Happy writing/NaNo-ing/NaHoCleMo-ing to you all!  (Wanna get in on NaHoCleMo?  Click here to read about Linda’s great idea!)

NaNoMeter:  1,639 down | 48,361 to go

¹If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click here.

 

Gray (Though I Like it Spelled Grey Better…)

19 Aug

Why is it that people are so quick to see things only in black and white, but nothing in between?  And then, why is it that people who only see gray forget that black and white must exist in order for gray to happen at all?

I know that’s not much of a blog post, really – it’s so short.  I’m sure I have more to say on the subject, but at the moment it feels best to just leave it at that.  Gray has just been on my mind lately, for reasons not completely related to today’s outfit, a light gray shirt paired with dark gray pants (though choosing that outfit may have had something to do with the fact that gray has been on my mind).

Oy vey.  I’ve gone all artsy-fartsy on you guys.  I’m such a drama queen sometimes.  I’ll be back to my non-vague self soon enough, I promise.