I did not want to write this morning. Did not. Want. To write. I was so sick of my story. So sick of my characters. So sick of the plot that just never seems to untangle and move forward. The last couple days have been booooring.
I wanted to spend my hour reading advice from novelists, see if someone could tell me how to fix it. I wanted someone else to tell me how to move forward. It’s so frustrating how lonely this journey is, how much of it you have to do YOURSELF. Ha. Wouldn’t it be nice if the stories would just freakin write themselves?
To break through this barrier, I considered going back and starting my edits, even though the draft is not done. I seriously considered it, even though lots of authors say not to edit till you’re done writing, and I’m not convinced it would have been a bad choice. Perhaps it would have been useful, and might have propelled me forward again.
Still, I’m glad I did what I did, which was to keep plugging along. Decided to go ahead and write a specific scene, one where a pair of my main characters is traveling through woods with another group of characters they’ve just met. I wanted to hurry ahead to the plot again, get my characters busy doing something that will move things toward their inevitable conclusion, but I had too many questions before I could do that right. So I wrote this “boring” scene.
I think I was somewhat inspired by reading several “boring” chapters of Harry Potter to the kids last night. We’re on (rendition #2) of The Goblet of Fire (having already read the entire series to them once before, and to myself several times). This is my least favorite of the stories, so much exposition at the beginning, so much scene-building, so little action, so. much. Quidditch. Yech. But the kids like it, so I kept plowing through. (“How come you don’t read very much to us each night any more, Mommy?” said Eli. “Because it’s boring!”) And last night I began to see that it’s okay to exposition some. The kids love it, even if I don’t. And so I gave myself permission today to write some “boring” bits. I can always take them out later.
And it turned out to be pretty okay, actually.
It answered a lot of questions for me about the characters’s motivation, and helped forge an alliance between two characters who have been butting heads through the whole thing but who, I’ve known from the start, will eventually be partners if not something slightly more.
And, it was actually pretty interesting to write and I think it will be interesting to read. It’s a scene I’m rather proud of, in fact. Yay.
At the same time, there is something niggling at me. I kept getting distracted by this thought, and then putting it away for later cogitation. My niggling is this: All of my female characters seem to play second fiddle to a male character. This was NOT intentional. It certainly does NOT reflect how I think life SHOULD be or even what I think is “natural” for people. It does, however, reflect my upbringing and my own personal insecurities about leadership.
Now to cogitate on how to address this. If the female/male inequity were central to or important to my story, I would leave it in. I don’t need to make a political statement. But it’s not. I believe it’s a weakness in myself, and therefore a weakness in the story, to leave it like that. I’ll be thinking on it…