Friday, June 12, 2009

"Gasp!" Moments

That writing binge I had planned? It, um, didn't exactly happen. Part of that had to do with distractions (my phone wouldn't stop ringing). But part of it had to do with my wacky subconscious. I think I got a lot done, just not in the traditional sense of typing words.

It all started with that out-of-the-blue plot twist that hit me suddenly on Wednesday. I'd just written a pretty big scene, one that I'd been imagining for ages and that goes with one of the major songs on my imaginary soundtrack -- a song I'd been wanting to write something to go with. It was a nice scene that resolved a conflict between a couple of characters and repaired their relationship so they could move forward together in fighting the Big Bad -- the kind of scene that ends with a big "Awwww." When I finished it, I closed the laptop to allow it to cool down some (my chill pad bit the dust, and now I need to get a new one) and to relish the scene I'd just written. I was replaying it in my head when my cruel, evil subconscious changed it, throwing in something that took it quickly from "Awwww" to "Gasp!" I told my subconscious to stop being so mean, but then every time I thought of that scene, I was seeing it that new way, and then I realized that it was a rather brilliant development. Having big "Gasp!" moments is good, and this one felt right. It drew upon other things that had been established in the story and could be just what I needed to tie into the big finish. So I reworked the scene I'd just written to include the "Gasp!" moment and then wrote going forward from there.

But then I decided I hadn't done it justice. I hadn't earned the "Gasp!" I feel like if you're going to throw in a "Gasp!" you need to earn it both before and after the "Gasp!" or you get something that's like a lame TV cliffhanger -- something done just for shock value that isn't paid off. I hadn't paid it off properly. So, I spent most of yesterday trying to figure out how to pay it off properly. It was being tricky and elusive, the kind of thing where I could sense it lurking around the corners, but if I stared at it directly, it vanished. I resorted to keeping my conscious brain busy so my subconscious could work it out. I went to the library because a friend was speaking at the summer reading program kick-off event, chatted with the librarian, picked up some books I'd put on hold, chatted with some people in my neighborhood along the way about all the storms. Then I got home and tried again. Nope, still vanished if I looked too hard. So I read a book. And then I put the book down and was able to outline a whole chain of cause and effect of who was doing what and when, what they knew and why they were doing it to set it all up, as well as how each character would react and what their plans were in dealing with it. I still wasn't sure how that would play out in the actual scenes I'd written, so I watched some television, and in the middle of a commercial break I was suddenly able to figure out how to fix that.

As a result, I spent the day going to the library, reading and watching TV, but I was actually working very hard and accomplished a lot of necessary work. Today's task (after I go buy a new chill pad so I don't have to stop writing every half hour or so to let the computer cool off) is to do all the stuff I planned yesterday. I may or may not get to the end of the story today.


Carradee said...

Sweet! I like hearing of your writing days. :)

Reminds me of recently, I'd (thought I'd) figured out where my draft-in-progress had gone awry, sat down to rework that part, and was struck by the realization of what to do for a different work that's on major revision #3.

...And in typing this, I just realized what to do about that part needing rework. *runs off to jot notes*

sexy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.