Wednesday, November 12, 2008

33251: The bigger conflict begins to blush

The characters have leapt nimbly, with some bumps and bruises and self-doubts and fears, over the first hurdle.  Before they've had a chance to brush themselves off, they're starting to see the glow of something ominous on the horizon.  It's the first blush of a red dawn before the storm.  They know something bad is approaching, but they still have hopes that they'll be able to shrug it off.  It might not be so bad.  They're just nervous.  You know, new town, new people, unfamiliar rules ... it's probably just the flutters.  Nothing to keep them up at night. 

And yet they're gnawing their fingernails.  Rightly so.   Because as in much of the fiction out there, the kind of fiction that follows the storytelling path of increasing stakes, increasing problems and a climax in the center of the book from which the big, final, seemingly insurmountable conflict and climax arise, they're just getting their first taste of a big banquet of troubles.  Things will be said that can't be unsaid.  Truths stranger than fiction will be revealed.  And the axeman appears.  They've sensed the danger, but not the scope and they'll flee before it right into the arms of the one person they should avoid at all costs, because they're human beings and he's familiar, he's (they thought) reasonable, and he may be not the best guy ever but he's their not the best guy ever.  And the war they've been trying to ignore and pass off as out of their hands will explode around them.  I really don't know how they're going to get out of it.  That's the fun part.  The characters and I will discover that together, and I think it will be way more interesting than anything I could come up with in advance.

And of course when I go to edit the thing sometime next year I'll gnash my teeth and curse under my breath at the slow areas, the shallow thinking, the repetitions, the dragging, archaic language and all the other little problems that I don't yet have the awareness to suspect are developing now.  But I'm not worried.  If I fret about it now, the soap bubble will pop and the magic will be gone.  This way I'll get it done.  This way I'll have something complete to edit.  There's nothing sadder on my hard drive than an incomplete manuscript that I'd planned on 'fixing' before I moved on.  The fixing never happens.  When I go back to a partial manuscript, more often than not it's much better to just start the thing over.  That's where an outline writer is way better off than someone like me.  It's easier to pick up in the middle even after a longish hiatus.  But outlines thin the walls of that soap bubble, and it often pops before its time.  I'm better off with my bottle of bubbles and my bubble wand.  

Hopefully everyone doing Nano is moving apace.  If not, don't give up!  The month is yet young.  We're not even halfway through.  So snag yourself some tea or coffee, settle in, and write, even if it's just a hundred words.  Right now.  Late or early, short on time or short on patience, brain mush or brain tuned to work, whatever.  Commit, do.  You can do it in two minutes.  On your mark, get set, go!

No comments: