November 09, 2003

the dangling carrot

I've been struggling through the current scene in my novel. It's from the male character's POV, which is generally more challenging for me, but more, I started it with only a vague idea of what it was about. I prefer to have the character goals and obstacles clear in my head for any given scene, it makes it easier to know what I'm writing toward. On the other hand, some of my favorite sequences evolved from no more than a general "she's coming from this charged emotion and getting into her car to drive home" notion.

Sometimes, though, it's harder. In this case, the emotions are not only charged, but complex, yet the actions of the scene are extremely simple and mundane (two people making dinner). I'm more than halfway through writing it and I think I'm finally getting a sense of what I'm doing there. Which necessitates a little rewrite massage, but shouldn't be too bad. But it's an uncomfortable enough process that I've been avoiding the work this week. I hate that. Sometimes it's an effective strategy, and the muttering in the back of my brain as I slip into alpha sleep fixes the problems for me while I'm consciously thinking of other things, but sometimes (like now) it just stalls me out and depresses me.

I think I figured out today how to get past this block, though -- how to get my butt back in the chair and my fingers poised over the keyboard. I started thinking of the next bit. It's one of the most pivotal sequences in the novel, where things are inadvertently revealed and emotions are naturally high while people are doing things that can't allow them to deal fully with what's going on underneath. I love that stuff. Drama with a twist of the knife. I have all sorts of ideas of how to structure it, of moments and images and painful bits. But I can't write it until I finish this scene, can I?

I'm looking forward to getting back to work.

Posted by Tamar at November 9, 2003 09:28 PM