In the excitement of discovery—of a new passage, a new plot-point, a nuance of character—it’s easy to forget, sometimes, how big a job actually waits ahead. The revelations of the weekend thrilled me when they happened. They still do. But now comes the hard part: the working-out.

I write tight (the story, not me, silly…). Which means that inserting those little tension builders that will help strengthen the plot isn’t anywhere near as easy as just sticking a new passage into the existing story somewhere.

An emotional logic rules the pages as well as the structure. The chapter sections have been built to a pace of heart as well as head. All those things that delighted me so much at their creation now have square edges that refuse to fit neatly into the created round holes. And now that the book itself is nearing 200 pages, reading back through the step-by-step logic is not as easy as it once was.

Enter the outline. Maybe it’ll be simpler to find the insertion point once all the filigree is stripped away? Sure. And maybe not. The tight writing doesn’t want to let me in.

Oh…and did I mention a sudden, overwhelming urge to second-guess myself at every turn? It’s a sorry place to be.

That’s where the plasticity of writing is a godsend. Try a little of this, a little of that. The thing will make sense of itself—eventually. But where flexibility giveth, time taketh away. Those necessary visits to the gym leave me about two hours to get things done…not anywhere near the time it takes to relax to the task. And not go to the gym? Sure. But not for too many days running, or one pays for it. One robs one pocket to feed the other. That’s the way of the word, for now.

Things will happen. Clarity will come. I will have that ahahhh moment, whether all at once or over time. But for now, my back is bent to the climb. The road has lengthened at my feet. And, damn, it’s uphill all the way.

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