Breakthrough

I’ve been having a hell of a time getting to the new pivot scene. I was scared to write it.
Yesterday, I took a deep breath and dove in, and the scene happened for me. There were points where I was crying so hard I had to quit typing because I couldn’t read the screen. I finished the scene — it’s a long one — and had to quit for the day. I felt like I’d been run over by a truck.

But I reread the scene today, and it’s there. The feeling I had while I was putting the thing in words transmuted itself to the page. There’s always this dread — especially when you’re working quickly — that the scene in your mind is not getting all the way through your fingertips and that the result is going to be thin, or muddy, or just dead. But the funny thing is, when you think about the writing the least — when your fingers are flying and the tears are dripping onto the keyboard and you have to stop from time to time to wipe your face on your sleeve — that’s exactly the time that the scene leaps to life in one take, and breathes, and rips your heart out of your chest and devours it whole.

Writing should be like this all the time — only if it was, writers would only survive one or two books, and would then die of exhaustion and too much joy.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

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