I swat at the cloud of gnats swarming my head and dart through the back door of my writing office. With the door safely closed and most of the bugs left outside, I pull off my head-net. Best. Investment. Ever. Although, one can tolerate a cloud of gnats around one’s head–even one safely ensconsed in mosquito netting–only so long.
“Seriously, love?” My Muse is leaning on my writing desk, arms crossed. Until he swats at a rogue gnat. A teeny wisp of smoke fades.
“Dude, did you just fry that gnat?”
Another teeny wisp of smoke drifts toward the floor. “Would you rather I corral them and coax them back outside?”
“Hell, no. Why don’t you nuke all the ones out in the garden so I don’t have to wear this head-net and spray down with bug repellent.”
“Not my job.” He crosses his legs at the ankles. Which is when I notice he’s wearing deck shoes, no socks, tan cargo shorts, and a Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon t-shirt. Except the shirt is tye-dyed rather than the usual black. “Besides, they’ll be gone in a week or so. Now that you’re done playing in the dirt …”
“Playing? Excuse me, but I was trying to weed. You know, before I couldn’t stand listening to bugs in my ears and flying around my eyes.” I peel off my long-sleeved button-down shirt. Ugh. Eighty degrees outside and I have to wear long pants and long sleeves just to weed without turning into a snack bar. A stray buzz by my ear sounds like a mini-buzzsaw. I slap at my head. Damn fricking bugs. Needless to say, I didn’t get a whole lot of weeding done. “Whatever it is, it’s going to have to wait until after I shower.”
A slow, crooked grin stretches across his face. An eyebrow arches.
“What? What’s funny?”
“Best you don’t know, love.”
Ahem. O-kay. “Hey, I don’t need any shit from you. I’m writing. I even have the first chapter done. I knew that class was a good idea.”
“Yes, you are, and yes, it was. And I’m not going to let you slack off because your writing teacher is conducting a week-long writing retreat this week. She wants to see the next chapter.”
“And I want to write it. But shower first.” The sharp pine-ish smell of bug spray just reminds me of bugs. Bloodsucking bugs.
“I’ll be waiting.” He crosses the office and settles into one of the recliners in the corner before he reaches to the mini-fridge and pulls out a craft beer. “Hurry up. I have some ideas for the next few chapters.”
“Good. So do I.”
I have to say, I am sooo glad I took this class. The units and exercises are set up to walk through the process of building a novel. So far, in the unit I’m on, my assignments included a logline and the infamous Central Question, a review of the book as a bestseller, as well as my main character’s best personality trait and her Fatal Flaw.
By writing the review, specifically looking at the character, plot, and transformational arc, I discovered a few things, one in particular that “clicked” as part of Sierra’s arc. By really thinking about her fatal flaw and why she has it, I hit another revelation that will help me with the story.
My next assignment is the first 20 pages. I have the first nine done as part of an earlier assignment, and I feel good about keeping things going. Being accountable is a big part of this, but also the coaching. My mentor is a great coach; she always manages to say something or make a suggestion that turns on the lightbulb and makes me want to dig in and move forward. I even took a day off next week to give myself some additional time to write. And work on promo stuff.
Enjoy your weekend, and to all the fathers out there, whether you have your own kids or you fill that place in someone’s life: Happy Father’s Day!