Anyone who’s been popping in to read my blog knows I’ve been stuck in slow-mo with my WIP. The reasons are many, the biggest of which, I think, besides RL distractions, is a lack of connection to my MCs.
Sometimes, I can relate to my characters right off the bat because they resonate with me in some way. With this project, I’ve done the requisite character sketches, character building, and mental mind-melds, but I just couldn’t connect with them.
This weekend, something happened to change that. I’m not sure what, whether it boils down to “damn the torpedoes, full-steam ahead” intention to brow-beat the characters into submission, or I finally “click” with them, but I’ve managed to tap into their minds.
At some point during the first draft, I think I connected with them, but once I deep-sixed the original storyline and replaced it with a shinier one, I lost the connection.
Do you ever run into that? You create characters, mainline into their heads, then something happens to break the connection. Is it because they change in a way you don’t expect? Is it because you’ve rerouted the plot? Or maybe you didn’t have a true connection to begin with when you created them.
I turn. Sigh. “What now?”
My Muse is leaning against the door jamb, hands tucked into the front pockets of his well-worn jeans, wearing a red and black plaid flannel shirt unbuttoned, with a white thermal shirt underneath, sleeves rolled halfway up his forearms. One of my personal fave looks for him, but I’m not going to tell him that. His slow smile is a bit lopsided. “I’m proud of you, love.”
Um, this is unexpected. “Ah, okay. No ‘get your ass to work’? No ‘stay in your room until you get the next scene written’? Are you ill?”
The smile turns into a full-on grin. “No. I’m basking in the glow of a writer who’s finally thinking about her WIP, and not just when she’s in her writing room, but all the time.” He staggers the last three words. “You know that’s key. You can’t not think about the story when you’re connected to it.”
“I beg to differ.”
“You won’t think about it as often if you’re not truly connected to it. Why do you suppose you’ve been having so much trouble with this WIP? You haven’t started really thinking about it until a few days ago.”
“I have been thinking about it.”
He pushes off the wall and saunters toward me. He sure seems smug. “You have, but you haven’t. A writer needs to live the story in here,” he touches my forehead, “and here,” he touches my sternum over my heart, “to direct the most creative energy. It works the best for rough drafts, the ones where you compose the core story. Revision needs it too, but a lot of revision is sanding off the edges you’ve left and fine-tuning the details, unless you’re adding scenes.
“When you steer your thought process toward the story, it’ll click eventually, and you’ll have a direct line into it.” He wraps an arm around my shoulders and pulls me in. “Now, was that worth weeks of angst?”
He smells like a cozy fire and hot cocoa. Very distracting, yet comforting. I did it. I tapped into my story so I can (re)write it. “I suppose, when you take Real Life into account.”
“The more often you do it, the better you’ll get.”
As with almost anything.
“So, it should be no problem for you to get that deep revision done by New Year’s Eve.”
Er, okay. I guess I’m digging in deep the next couple weeks.
Good luck, all, on your upcoming holiday preparations. I’ve still got cookies to bake, but with almost zero freezer space and an unseasonally warm December in MN (warm December = no outdoor freezer), I’ll have to wait until next week to do my baking. There’s nothing like fresh cookies!