Monday, February 16, 2009

Use the Force

In which I justify leaving The Mighty Thor to do bedtime for both kids so I can wander aimlessly.

I've been a little stuck on my work-in-progress. I'd tried a lot of things, but it needed, um, it needed, er, something. And I didn't know what. Then, the other night, I felt an overwhelming need to get out of the house. I wandered to the car with no idea where I was going. I ended up at the bookstore trolling the writing inspiration shelves researching. I had no idea why I was there or what I was seeking. Then, I came across this:

The Writer's Journey, Mythic Structure for Writers, by Christopher Vogler

"Interesting," I thought to myself. And it was. But it was too dense to read at 9:30 at night.

"I know," I thought. "I'll go to the library tomorrow and look at it there."

The next morning, I couldn't write a thing. So I headed to the library, telling myself I was researching. Because what every middle grade novel needs is more mythic structure. Sigh. Obviously, I was desperate.

I found the book. It didn't help me. But near it on the shelf was this:

"Ooh!" I thought. "That might help!" So I grabbed it. And it was very interesting (and who doesn't love Joan Lowery Nixon?). But it didn't help.

I put it back. And next to it, was another mystery-writing book. And another. And another. And WHAT AM I DOING?! WHY AM I SPENDING DAY CARE TIME READING ADVICE ON SETTING UP YOUR SERIAL KILLER?!?!?!

"Enough," I told myself. "This is useless. Put these back."

And then, as I was reshelving it all, this fell out:

How to Write KILLER Fiction, by Carolyn Wheat.

And because I was avoiding writing at all costs open to new experiences and ideas, I picked it up. And glanced through it.

And there it was, a castaway line in the middle of a chapter I wasn't even really reading. A castaway line in the middle of a chapter I wasn't reading in a book I never should have had.

And it was EXACTLY what my work in progress needed. And I started writing immediately and haven't stopped.

Was it just an accident, a master procrastinator getting lucky? No. I like to think it was some Star Wars-like writer's Force, guiding my light saber. Now, if only I could find Yoda.

So long until tomorrow. And may The Force be with you.


Diane T said...

This shouldn't be classified under "Just Try It," for did not Yoda tell us, "Try? Do! Or do not! There is no try."

Not a bad philosophy for a writer who just needs to get BIC.

Marina said...

No, no, Jacqui -- what are you doing?? Don't encourage us to procrastinate!

Glad it worked for you, though. And now, of course, I'm curious as to what the all-powerful line was that got you going again.

Jacqui said...

Diane, very true. But see how good you blog when two hours sleep you have...

Marina, that's the crazy part: it wasn't anything exciting, just some advice about writing your story from the antagonist's point of view to get an idea of how he would act.

Candace Ryan said...

Hey Jacqui,

Glad to see The Force is with you. I think I'm stuck with The Schwartz right now.

Has anyone seen Yogurt, or Mel Brooks, even? Send him my way, please!