“You can have it all. You just can’t have it all at once.” — Oprah Winfrey
Funny, I keep telling my characters that. At this point, they’re not particularly interested in listening. But they’re in the middle of the book, so they do not know the pain which lies ahead of them. My hero, especially. He has no understanding how out of his depth he is. Naturally this is going to cause considerable pain, especially to the heroine, who is falling for him despite her logical instints that tell her otherwise. ::cackles evilly::
Character torture. Gotta love it.
Three days left in this year’s NaNoWrimo and we really all should be in the middle of angst now, happily torturing our characters as they move toward the climax of their story. I’ve got my ending already written and am filling in the middle bits, but I’m starting to be filled with this dreadful urge that I want it all done now. It’s so close, I taste it. What doesn’t help is that I know exactly what scenes I need; I can see them in my head. Now the problem is to keep my focus as I head into the home stretch, make certain that I don’t let my mind go leaping all over the place. I’m not writing in order, but I need to stay with what I’m currently writing on so I can make certain I don’t miss something I wanted to get down on the page.
People want to know the “secret” for writing, and usually aren’t amused to find that most writers will tell you, “Butt in chair, hands on keyboard.” They want some mystical wisdoms that will let them finish a book in just an afternoon and then see it as an instant best-seller on Amazon. There are plenty of folks out there who are willing to tell you how to do that — for a price. I’ve got a few in my inbox right now.
By now, you know that approach doesn’t work. You’ve got twenty-seven days under your belt of sweat and frustration, too much caffeing and moments of using the wordiest descriptions you can to help you make that word count. You’ve been doing the work — it’s just that the work seems to be never-ending. Welcome to the joy of writing.
Books are written one scene at a time. No matter how hard we try, we can’t write two at once. Trust me on this one. I’ve been trying for years. So today, know that you can have your win and your finished draft, but you can’t have it yet and you can’t have it at the same time you’re trying to figure out the scene where your protagonist is uncovers the person who’s been dogging him all this time. Focus. And if you need a prompt, you can always borrow today’s quote — it’s not a bad lesson for characters to learn.