The perfect is the enemy of the good.
Right now, I want a nap. Like really, really want a nap. At the same time, there is part of me entirely devoted to “we were without cable/internet for two and a half days, company is coming on Sunday, I have a Skype session with Melva tomorrow, Saturday’s workshop unlocked that part of Her Last First Kiss where I wasn’t sure what I was doing, and now I am, therefore, I cannot sleep and must do all the things. Right now. Preferably at once.”
Which, realistically, is not how things work. Our friends are not coming to see us because our apartment is a showplace (it is not) -we are going to a museum for that- and there is probably, realistically, plenty of time to get most of what I want to get done, done. For somebody as motivated by lists and planning as I am, this should be second nature, and, in some ways, it is. More on that later. Unless I forget. Because I did not outline this post. Winging it, because this is technically Monday’s post, but we did not have any internet on Monday; our service had been shut off by mistake (the subscriber the technician intended to disconnect was another house on our street; lots of moving in and out around this time of year in a college town, so understandable on their part.) Props to Tim from Time Warner Cable, for doing an A plus job, being respectful of scared-of-strangers kitty, and making sure everything worked its very best before he left.
Okay, not entirely without internet, as one of this city’s perks is municipal internet, but we can only get one bar in our living room, so enough to get the essentials done, but not conducive to mindless web-surfing, falling down a Netflix hole, or other use that doesn’t have a specific purpose. On the plus side, it is enough to text chat on Skype while writing. I have come to know myself well enough to know when I need to blabber to another writer while I work, and when I need to be on my own, earbuds in and head fully in story world. Not a one size fits all approach to every writing session, I have found, and I like that part of the discovery process.
One of the items on my list today was to apply the lessons from K.A. Mitchell’s workshop at CRRWA, to nudge the gelatinous near-the-end part of Her Last First Kiss into shape. There is a particular joy only writers know, of getting our characters to the almost-happy place. Sure, they think they’re happy, but little do they know Everything Is About To Go Down The Crapper And It Is All Their Faults. That’s a fun part to write, even -maybe especially- in romance, because we already know things are going to work out in the end. Hero and Heroine are going to be FINE. They’re going to be better than fine. Because this is a romance, they get to live Happily Ever After (not that it means they’ll never have anything bad ever happen to them again for their entire lives, because how boring would that be? Talk about unrealistic. It means they’ll be together and happy about it, and face whatever comes, together.) so what chance does anything the author throws at them even have in the first place, right? No chance, but we writers have to make “no chance” look like “I have no idea how they’re going to get out of this one” (to the reader, that is; it looks plenty like that to the writer at this stage of the game.)
Which is what had me at my secretary desk, two notebooks open at once (notebook shown is the “official-because-I-say-it-is” notebook for this project (Abbie and Ichabod have nothing to do with this book; they’re just pretty, and they make me happy, so they can stay) and the entries in it are, hm, we shall say well-spaced, because this notebook intimidates me. It looks like this on the outside:
In short, the notebook is pretty and fancy and I did not want to ruin it with my horrible straight-out-of-my-brain writing. Especially when it is of the “I have not idea what I am doing” variety and have trouble reading my own handwriting. This is slightly better when I use better pens, like fountain pens, which I use here, or rollerballs, which I used in the other notebook, to take notes in the workshop. Basically, that part of my day consisted of me copying things from the workshop notebook (really my all purpose notebook) into the HLFK notebook and expounding upon/applying the points to Hero and Heroine’s story. At a certain stage of the story, in any genre, readers have some expectations, and if those expectations aren’t fulfilled, readers are going to be cranky. I do not want cranky readers. On the other hand, I would take cranky readers over no readers, because my standards in that department are not that high at this stage of getting back on the metaphorical horse.
Which is actually a big help to the writer. This stage of the game is where we do the thing. Okay. We can do the thing. How, exactly, do these particular characters do the thing? That’s what makes this book different from all the others out there, and there are a lot of them out there, but this one is mine. Well, actually Hero’s and Heroine’s, but I am hoping you get the drift here. Even if you are cranky; if you are cranky, reading a good book could help. Or read one of mine. That would set you apart from the crowd. (cue saxophone version of “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” in the background)
So, basically, that part of my day consisted of using the pointy part of my fountain pen to stab Hypercritical Gremlins (thankfully, they bleed ink) and rough out exactly how Hero and Heroine would most likely do this particular thing. Find the worst thing that could happen to them, and then make it happen. Well, that’s easy, and provides a healthy dose of schaudenfreud (which I probably misspelled, but refer to Voltaire quote above) -the only way it’s okay to be happy that other people are miserable. I need to run this by N, but I think I am on to something, and the formerly gelatinous part is getting to a nice degree of firmness and providing forward momentum. I am going to call that good.