I had intended to write about the ‘two-thirds blues’, that point in writing the first draft of a novel when the initial impetus is long gone and the end seems impossibly far away. However, my protracted writing wibble of the last few weeks means I’m over that hurdle now; I’m currently working on the climax of one plot thread, after which it needs to collide with the other plot thread, after which, um, some exciting events and startling revelations will occur, until we’re all done.
Thanks to assorted Other Stuff, both writing-related and real-world, I don’t currently have as much time as usual to write. However, in some ways this isn’t such a bad thing. I’ve found that there’s a kind of inverse law about writing fast-paced climactic scenes: if I write them in a crazy rush that mirrors the required result, then whilst the process might be fun, what I end up with isn’t as good as if I take my time and consider all the permutations and possibilities. And then there’s those ‘exciting events and startling revelations’ which need to happen later and which, in case you hadn’t guessed, I’m still a bit hazy about. Having a lower daily word-count target gives me more time to work stuff out. At least that’s the theory.
I have three main times when I work stuff out prior to writing it. There’s plot pizza for the high-level stuff. There’s plot walks for nuts and bolts and general problem solving. And there’s the morning daydream, the time between waking up and getting up when I let my mind wander, and quite often find myself listening in on conversations between my characters, or watching detailed scenes unfold before my eyes.
So, when I woke up unfeasibly early this morning, I didn’t try to get back to sleep. Instead I turned my subconscious over to the muse (pretentious? moi?). It even had a choice: wring more details out of that current climactic scene, or come up with some good ideas for the final denouement.
Either would have been fine. Instead, what did it do? It delivered up the opening lines of Queen of Nowhere, a book which currently consists of a title, a concept and the 300 word pitch I sold it on. According to my stated ‘fractal quilting’ method that opening shouldn’t be arriving until I’ve got a lot more detail on the book. Looking at my schedule, I’d say some time around next Christmas.
As if the timing wasn’t perplexing enough, the lines are written in the first person. I don’t write fiction in the first person. OK, so I do write short stories in first, and yes, the story I used to work out what made the hero of Queen of Nowhere tick is first person. But a whole novel? Give me a break.
Sometimes the muse just pokes you with a sharp stick then sits back and laughs.