Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Don't Rush It...


My work in progress is getting some rearranging in the middle. I've been realizing that the heroine is not angry...yet. The hero hasn't spilled the beans on what makes her angry...yet.

What I'm discovering is there is more to be added before I get to these emotions. As there should be! My word count is pitiful and my muse has been fickle. It's been a hard thing to remember that writing while uninspired will still result in building blocks created. I've forced myself to write and discovered some scenes to bridge the gap.

Padding a scene is one thing, but there's only so much padding that can be done when emotions jump. There is still a big, missing chunk. How do the hero and heroine get from grief to anger? I've really had to think about how the emotions would transition. Imagine you've been reunited with someone you've loved and lost. How much emotion would you suppress after the initial relief? Would you walk on eggshells for a while? Would you try to maintain a status quo? Is there even room for humor and happiness in between the grief and anger?

That's where my hero and heroine are emotionally in the middle phase of the book. Before the plot begins to roll along to solving the big mystery, they need a time out. The danger can't be forgotten, but it needs to be held at bay. (A restraining order literally came to mind!) In the interim, the hero and heroine have an interlude. A brief period of time when they deal with the status quo of their new reality.

It's quite fun, actually, in a dark humor sort of way. The hero is a ghost, so imagine the adjustment for the heroine. Does she have a need to treat him like he's real? Does she hold the door open? Does she cringe if someone sits where he's sitting? Does she have to tell him to 'shut up' when he's interrupting her conversations with 'real' people? How does a 'real' person react and how does she cover? (This gets tricky!) It's an opportunity for humorous situations but with tension of both internal and external conflicts lingering. What would she do to maintain the status quo of this new reality?

So, I have a big chunk of middle transition. Then, the status quo is shattered.

Do you have a status quo in your middle? Have you tried to rush things?

10 comments:

  1. I have tried to rush things, and it doesn't work. I've learned that sometimes I have to chew on things. Right now I'm at the beginning of the end, or maybe I'm at the middle of the end of my story. Anyway, I'm doing a challenge to write at least 100 words a day for 100 days. Last night I didn't really want to work on my ms. The previous two nights I had worked on something else. Last night when I opened up my file I felt as if I were forcing, so I quit at 300. After I closed the file I realized I needed to put it in my hero's POV.

    So I say don't rush it, let it come, but at the same time you can't really put it down entirely or you'll get out of the habit of writing.

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  2. Well, the "don't rush it" is more for my characters than for me. I should rush it a bit more if it meant I dove in with more momentum! LOL I do need to chew on things for a while.

    That's great that you are in the end! "The beginning of the end or the middle of the end" makes sense only to a writer. LOL I have no idea where exactly I am...my word count doesn't match up with what I THINK has transpired. :)

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  3. Renee, you're right about "you can't really put it down entirely or you'll get out of the habit of writing." This absence from writing is always creeping up on me. I get back to it, but establishing a consistent routine of actual writing (that results in a growing word count) is something that frequently eludes me. I'm working on this problem...or is it thinking about it? LOL

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  4. It really helps when you are held accountable to others. If hubs and the kids find me doing things outside of writing, they ask why. My mother often calls me and asks what I've accomplished writing wise, and I have a wonderful network of friends at a small forum where we hold each other accountable. If you're interested in stopping by and checking us out, let me know and I'll point you in the right direction. We are small, so we're not overwhelming. :)

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  5. I definitely have to chew on things, but like you, I haven't established a set, stick-to-it writing routine either. I seem to write in snippets, sometimes large and sometimes small. But they only come once I've pondered them for a while, and when I get stuck, I know it's because the current scene isn't right. I either need to reverse the POV or change it completely. I'm at a change it completely point. *sigh*

    As for having the characters rush it, I don't think so. But then you don't want to drag it out too long either. It really depends on the characters. I could say what I would do in response to all those questions, but what matters is what your characters would do? Would she walk on eggshells? Would she remain rational and calm? That's where you'll find your answers.

    Great blog. Again. :)

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  6. Terri, yes, it's kind of a sign of something wrong for me too when I get stuck. Right now, the whole WHEN a character reacts a certain way is what's giving me revisions. They are just not sticking to the outline. Once they get "talking" they are determined to veer off the plotted course.

    Like what happened today. I've been trying to delay the hero telling the heroine something that would have them figuring things out too soon, but his motivation of "keeping it from her for her own good" seemed like it might drag on, as you mention, a bit too long. He has to tell her (she's the only one that can hear him) but he wishes someone else could hear him and take care of it. He can't stomach not taking care of her as he had (in life). A "what if" came to me that he might get his wish, but with consequences. How much doubly painful would it be if the heroine loses her contact with him (her ghost husband) and he tells his secret to his sister?

    It doesn't really delay the secret coming out, but the fallout is a lot to deal with. A couple of chapters worth. :)

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  7. Out of context, that's a tough one. My gut reaction is NO! LOL! If it feels like a betrayal of any kind, you'll lose the reader. So his motivation for telling his sister instead of her has to be really good and well explained to the reader.

    Is there any other reason you can think of that it would be a bad thing for him to tell her? Maybe she's not good at lying and she needs to be able to convince the police she really doesn't know? Kind of a culpibility thing. Would knowing this information make her culpible for something?

    An external reason is always great to back up the internal idea that he just thinks her not knowing is for her own good. I've found having back up helps immensely. Not good at finding/creating it, but I know I need it. :)

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  8. You've hit the nail on the head with the betrayal thing. I can't stand it either when I read a betrayal. The key is making the reason so iron clad that it fits the character. Out of context (sorry about that!) it does sound like a bad thing. So bad that I've started a blog post (sort of my working through it) on character secrets and what's forgivable. Maybe tomorrow...I'll have to watch the out of context talk. LOL

    I'm going to email you the in context. :)

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  9. Oh, I'd love that! That is one of the tough parts about talking writing or specifically about a WIP. Without the person reading everything you have, it's all out of context. LOL!

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  10. Got it! Will take until Sunday before I can really sit down with it, but what I've read tells me you have lots of great stuff in this story. Can't wait to get all the way through.

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