Uh-oh, we’re losing it. Nurse, hand me that monkey wrench, stat!
Welcome to my operating room. Where I stitch a plot with amusing dialogue, intriguing characters, and the twists and turns that eventually come together to make a novel.
I’ve recently been working on this historical fantasy romance. Confession time: it took a week and two days to write it. Twenty-five thousand words. Yup. It sucked some. The first 25k came together with a magical harmony I can’t explain. It had a beginning (though not a very good one), a middle (sort of fuzzy in spots) and an end, which was happy (but needs its fair share of work as well).
I’m trying to add some words in the middle. And I hit a dead end. The main characters are stuck together for a three thousand mile journey and I don’t know what to do with them. Talk about a monkey wrench in my gears. Here I’m trying to write, write, write, edit, edit, edit and I’ve run into a brick wall. The first thing I conclude when I face the wall is that I’m heading in the wrong direction with the story. Oh, I could sit and think it through. My favorite phrase to repeat to myself is: give it time, it’ll come to me. In the words of Jean Kerr: hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn’t permanent.
Lying in bed after an unproductive day of movie watching, (hey, there was a blizzard outside, what was I supposed to do?) I thought, I really need to throw a monkey wrench into this part of the story. What can I do? The answer continued to evade me.
For two days ( the blizzard fizzled out, but it made sure to leave several inches of snow in my yard), I kept thinking, monkey wrench. Need a monkey wrench. I can clearly picture this wrench stuck in a bunch of gears. Which isn’t helpful in the least. Standing in the shower, an idea came to me. And then an even better idea. I have history for this story, notes written by anonymous people to provide clues for the main characters. I, by George, needed not just history and skeptical stories, but a poem! So I went back and threw in a poem with the notes which will provide me some nice padding, er, future story. And then not only that, but I found that wrench that’s really going to muck things up for my MMC. I’m so proud of myself.
Crisis averted. Ten thousand words away from a nice second draft. The patient is currently stable.