Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sometimes writing = jogging through jello

I'm struggling with the novel I'm writing. That's okay. It's happened before, and I've survived.

I think this is part of my writing process. When it happens, my solution is to keep writing--even if it's only 250 words in a day. Just keep pushing forward. And then as if by magic, something clicks, and my fingers fly over the keyboard.

I think I figured out my dilemma about writing this book--my time travel historical novel--while I was on my walk last night. When I zap my character into a different time and place I have to come up with an entire new cast of characters and storyline that will mesh with the overall plot.

Duh. No wonder I'm struggling. Understanding that, I already feel better.  Last night I wrote the scene where my character enters the home where she'll be living in 1845.

A thin woman stood over a washbasin, wiping simple ivory crockery clean with a dishrag. Nance O’Hare looked up, brushed a wisp of auburn hair off her forehead, and smiled. “Ah, alannah—my child. Take yourself down the hill and check on your sister Noreen. I expected her here by now. I’m worried about her.” A frown creased her lovely face. “She’s not feeling well, carrying this babe. If she needs a rest, bring little Bridget here for the afternoon.”

Yes, I jogged through jello to create that simple scene, but now the character of Nance is firming up in my mind. She's a gentle mother who doesn't think anything is impossible. And now the next several chapters will come into focus. 

I'm glad I'm not a quitter. I believe it's always better to persevere. It's better to try and know for sure than to quit and never know what could have been.

How do you keep yourself motivated when you run into a snag?

Isn't that photo lovely? I found it here.


Rita Garcia said...

Wow! Did I need to read this today!

Megan DiMaria said...

Did you, Rita? Hang in there. Keep moving forward!

Tina said...

Such a great title for a great post! You've never struck me as a quitter, Megan. Keep going. :-)

Carla Laureano said...

Do I relate to that! Often when I can't slog through the next scene, it's a sign that it doesn't need to be there in the first place. After all, if I find it too boring to write, why would anyone else want to read it? (My favorite writing quote by Elmore Leonard: "Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.")

Other times it's a sign that my conflict is fizzling out and I need to add a subplot or raise the stakes.

Sometimes, though, it just means it's time for tea and chocolate.

Megan DiMaria said...

Thanks, Tina.

Carla -- ha, ha! Time for tea and chocolate. Love that!

Beth K. Vogt said...

Jogging through Jello -- great word picture ... and yes, there are days I've done a few writers laps through Jello.
Love how you persevere through.
Sometimes I walk away from the computer and go for a long, real walk ... and then come back at it with a clear-er mind.

Megan DiMaria said...

Good advice, Beth. Thanks for joining the conversation.