Thursday, April 26, 2012

Crossroad Blues

This should be brief. I wrapped up a draft earlier in the week and am going through the usual post-partum floundering while I decide which of the dozens of stories logjammed in my head wants to get told next. That logjam includes blogs. This is my third attempt to write something of value. I should have just skipped today and run a promo and excerpt for Legacy like I was planning to. Yeah well.

I don’t count this as a block. A block is when I’m writing one particular story and the plot stops dead. Then I can either plow ahead or set it aside and have a go at something else. This isn’t really a block because my WIP isn’t frozen. They all are.

This is more like when you’re driving and you come to a five-way stop sign. The road you’ve been cruising along on abruptly ends. Now you have to decide which way to turn. Each of the five roads you’re presented with will take you to a suitable destination and provide a dollop of interesting sightseeing along the way. So which one do you pick? What if the road hits a dead end? Then you have to backtrack and start over on another road. No one road is any better than the rest, just different. It’s the choosing that’s got me stumped.

In real life, sooner or later some other driver will come up behind me and start blatting the horn. Then I have to pick one and live with my decision. No impatient drivers are sitting behind me with their hands on the horn while I type. I can remain stuck at the stop sign for weeks if some story doesn’t leap up and yell, “Write me!”

Fortunately there’s busywork I can do while waiting for my muse to get off her butt. I can inventory all those false starts and abandoned stories in my dozens of spiral notebooks. I can pull an old manuscript out of the closet and see if it can be salvaged. I have a list of frontrunners I’d like to work on, but need a running start. Maybe if I start half a dozen stories, one will want me to type beyond page two. Or not. Remember the beginning of the month, when I was going to write 3000 words a day and complete a book (or three novellas) by now? That lasted about a week. I finished the longhand draft I’d started in March, then hit this post-project logjam. I started another story and didn’t know where to go with it. I tried writing random scenes and they petered out. I ended up typing the longhand, with polishes and edits as I went along. Now I’ve got a typed and printed draft and I’m back at the stop sign again.

I could write my titles on slips of paper and pull one out of a jar and work on whichever one I pick. That doesn’t always work either. That is, it works, but not in the way I planned. My brain gets fed up with me forcing a story and tosses a bright and shiny new idea in front of me. That’s how I wrote the story I just finished. I was trying to force my way through one my brain didn’t really want to write, so it sent me down another road. That abandoned story is still sitting on my desk. Maybe I’ll go back to it and see if Mr. Brain coughs up something better rather than work on the dead one.

Y'know, I could have a whole career that way. That could be my Inspiration Story. The poor thing could languish for decades while I write other book after other book instead of finishing that one. I go with whatever works.

Once I do decide on something, I’ll try the book in a month thing again. I can write 3000 words a day. At least I proved that much. Now I just need a new idea. Easy as pie.

Or I could say to heck with it and go watch The Real Housewives of Lower West Armpit, Texas. There’s a lot to be said for cable TV. Where did I leave the remote?


Serena Shay said...


Let's see, my eyes are anxious to read about the Preacher...also, there is this sinfully sexy librarian in Talbot's Peak who certainly peaked my interest... Do either of those help? :D

I'm terrible at picking the next WIP. I always think I know just what I'm going to do, then the muse steps in and says nope...those characters are locked in the closet. She's such a bitch sometimes, but she does usually puts the Hero and Heroine together in the closet, sooooo she can't be all bad. ;)

Good Luck deciding!

Pat C. said...

Serena, I haven't forgotten about Gavin (the Preacher's real name). His might be the next story in the queue. Or it could be something else. I'm resting up for a day or two between drafts and then I'll make an effort to start something else. Don't know yet what it'll be.

I did try rough-drafting the two Dean and Cas scenes scheduled for the book. Wallace and Gavin discuss why slayers seem to have such sucky names.

Pat C. said...

Wallace: "Why aren't there any slayers named Bob?"

Gavin: "I believe there's one in South Dakota."

(waves to Jim Beaver)

Savanna Kougar said...

Logjam, what a perfect description. I still want my out of time, out of regular life CLOSET, where I can just write, then look like a fast writer. ~sighs~

Congrats on finishing, though.

Serena Shay said...

Bobby, Bobby, Bobby...I feel bad for him. Skipping the reaper only to feel unappreciated, but Dean's right. It just can't end well...

Do we ah get the man hug between Gavin and Wallace, we keep waiting to see between Dean and Cas??

Pat C. said...

No man hug for these two. They're nowhere near that close, especially since Gavin's the one who slaughtered Jeremy's family. It's lucky Jeremy's the forgiving type or one of these guys might be dead.

Dean and Cas, though -- I WANT TO SEE THAT HUG!!!!!!