The Good and Bad Sides of Breakthroughs
Read this on galpod.com.
I had a weird weekend. I'm usually full of energy on weekends, but this weekend was hot, and all I wanted to do was lie on the floor where it's nice and cool. But kids and guests mean that I at least have to have clothes on and plan for dinner, so I might as well cook (and do the dishes and the laundry), right? As long as I'm up, you know.
Anyway. Yesterday, I finished writing my midpoint crisis scene in the novel I'm working on. As the name implies, it's a crucial scene, plot-wise, and it's (for my kind of stories) emotional and laden. I enjoyed writing it, but when I finished, I came to the point I knew I would when I started. The point of "What now?"
When I wrote Labour Pains, I had a breakthrough at about the same stage. I wrote a particularly emotional scene, and when I finished it, I suddenly knew how to write the rest of the book. Everything clicked into place, and I changed the planned plot a little and went with this new plot. With the story I'm working on now, I didn't know how to get from the midpoint crisis to the end, but I started writing, and I trusted that I'd have a breakthrough eventually. As the end of the crisis scene loomed nearer, I began to panic. What if I don't have a breakthrough? What if I can't figure it out? What if I'll stay stuck in the middle and this story is never finished?
Then, last night, as I was going through my notes on this work, it finally happened. Talk about a minute-93 game changer, eh? Everything suddenly clicked into place, and I knew how to write the end of it. I knew how to get to the end. I went to bed very happy.
Today I realised that to write the rest of the book, a character that was going to be a minor character is now going to be a major character. And I'll need to do a LOT more research if I'm going to get him right, because I've never been an itinerant worker in the US, nor have I ever met one. This means I'll need to read a lot, and possibly try and talk to some people. It means that I can be as effective at putting words on the page. Of course, this had to happen smack dab a third into the month. So, my NaNoWriMo goals are going down the drain. I intended to write 20,000 words in this book, but it's not going to happen this month. I'll try and work on other stuff as well, but that 20k is not happening.
But here's the thing. I'm in such a better place with the book now than I was last week when I was writing 1000 words a day. So. Much. Better. I know how to get to the end. Which means, once I get this character right, this book is going to practically write itself from my experience. But it'll probably happen in September. So, for now, I might go back to writing some flash fiction, to keep the writing going.
Also, that feeling? When everything clicks, and you suddenly figure it out? It's the best.
PS. I love the photo I found for this post. It's a pretty accurate visualisation of what my brain looks like just about now.
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