Wednesday, February 17, 2010

99 problems, and a plot ain't one

Apparently, it takes me thirty thousand words to find a plot. Or at least it does for this book, My Nemesis,  The Novel What Ate My Brain, The Widening Gyre. (And yes, now that I actually know what this is about that may change again. One Thousand Titles in Search of a Story, anyone?)

I had characters, and a really cool world for them to run around it. There were conflicts. Things were happening. What I didn't have is the why, the driving engine for the story. I printed out the draft, made notes, sat at my notebook at made an appalling number of false starts. (Seriously, if books had DVD extras, I already have enough for two discs worth of bloopers and deleted scenes.)

I cleaned my house. I began organizing my desk. I ran through all the usual displacement activities that I do when the writing isn't working. I thought seriously about organizing my spice rack. And then, when I was getting Sam I Am's dinner ready, the why of the story dropped into my head. 

Sometimes writing looks like baking, or sorting through papers. I'm really glad that today, writing looks like writing again.


  1. Sometimes you have to distract yourself just enough that you forget what you're doing, and fly. Or something like that. Douglas Adams said it better, of course.

  2. Thanks!

    Andy, you, (and Mr. Adams) are right. I'm sort of amazed at how often I figure out writing related things when I'm doing something completely pedestrian, like cooking or running. Stories are strange creatures.

    And I need to read The Hitchhiker's Guide &tc. again.