A Meeting of Two Birds and a Stone

Day 9: 11,355 of 50,000 words

I suppose I should update about what I’ve decided to do about my little dilemma this month.

It started out with a story that seemed to take a defined shape early. Good character, decent back story, lots of room for mystery and things to go wrong. But it just wasn’t flowing and I decided to start over. It’s a short month, after all.

But the story clung to me like cat hair to a black wool sweater. I started writing from the viewpoint of a girl who just broke up with her boyfriend, sitting alone in a coffee shop and looking for an opportunity to change her life. Then she started to check out a cute guy across the room, and I realized:

DING!

Oh, crap. It’s that guy from the story I just discarded.

Let’s see if I can get out before he notices me. Sneak out the back – past the bathroom.

Too late! He’s walking this way. And smiling. And producing roses from beneath his jacket.

I’m a sucker for that move.

So I back up to the beginning again, cut and paste in the original 3,000 words. Keep writing. If I can’t get rid of him, I might as well try and use him for something. I have a general rule of not fighting myself on things overmuch; if my subconscious is determined to write this dude and his hard-to-squeeze-the-words-out story, fine. Game on.

Then….

Then I wrote that last post about not being able to do bad things to my characters.

Fast forward to me trying to wring some plot out of this piece of driftwood I’m calling a novel, and

DING!

I can practice doing no good, terrible, very bad things to this main character.

I mean, we don’t even like each other.

He’ll probably just give me roses again or something and thank me for the lovely time.

And if not, he’ll finally go away.

So this month I am practicing two things I’m not good at yet: chasing my characters into trees and throwing rocks at them, and working through a plot that isn’t singing along and playing nice from the beginning.

I’m going to write into the dark places. Make him a killer, maybe – thinking he’s doing the right thing. Lead him down rabbit holes while following bunnies stained black from the blood of their enemies. Let every single thing he cares about betray him and see how long he lasts.

Yes, this could be a good time after all. At least, once the screaming stops.

Speaking of dark things. Sometimes, there are beautiful dark things.

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2 thoughts on “A Meeting of Two Birds and a Stone

  1. Thank you very much for the link and description.

    I have to say, I am very much enjoy your commentary on the act of writing. So much of it rings true for me – and I imagine for a lot of other people who try to write.

  2. I totally see what you’re talking about, because I’ve had characters chase me for weeks (in one case, over 2 years) before they got into a story… and they end up being the richest characters, even as secondary characters…

    Almost 2 years ago I wrote a flash fiction piece as a throw-away for an anthology… two years later she’s the star of her third novella and over twelve short stories… you just never know

    Armand Rosamilia

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