I’ve been dinking around with virtual index cards in software for about a week now, first figuring out the overview for the Moon and Sun series, then starting to plot out The Moonroads. Yesterday, not long after I posted that things were going well, things stopped going well.
They do that. I hate it when they do that. I dawdled, I doodled, I deleted a bunch of cards that suddenly looked really stupid, I wrote some new ones that looked stupider, and finally I stomped out to the livingroom and completely ripped back a sweater that I’d been knitting for about a week and that was about 75% done because I’d let myself be sloppy with some weaving in of ends, and I wasn’t going to be happy with the sweater when it was done.
Yesterday sucked, frankly.
So today the body resisted the computer, and dragged me to an unused notebook, a couple of gel pens, and my copy of Plot Clinic. (Someone in the back of the room has just cleared a throat and said, “Ah, ‘scuse me, but why would you need to read a book you wrote?)
I was asking myself the same question.
I told myself I wrote the thing, I shouldn’t have to break out my own copy. I should know all that stuff, right?
But, see…when you’re stuck, (and I got stuck pretty unpleasantly yesterday), your mind blocks out all the useful things it can do to get unstuck. It goes into panic mode. Okay, your mind might not do this, but mine does. I was looking at index cards, but I was hearing, “Stuck, stuck, STUCK!” like that kid in A Christmas Story who had his tongue frozen to the lamppost, and I might in fact know more than twenty ways to get myself out of a corner, but yesterday I couldn’t think of one.
I made the conscious mind shut up, because the conscious mind hadn’t been giving me anything but a headache, and I went with alternative input. Gut instinct. Whatever. The body wanted the book, and pens, and real physical paper. I gave it what it wanted.
So now I’m working in longhand, on lined paper, and I’m allowing myself to ask dumb questions, and I’m rambling through the tools and trying out different things. The conscious mind has taken its proper place as the one who spells things right, and has conceded idea generation to the subconscious, because the subconscious has the keys to all the boxes. I’m not going to offer a progress report, other than to say that so far today has sucked a lot less than yesterday.
I’m using the Question tool at the moment because it’s working, and the questions I’ve asked myself are:
- What does Genna want desperately?
- Where did B____ go?*
- What is the cat hiding?
- What mistakes did Catri make?
- Who carries L_______’s* torch?
*Details cut to eliminate future spoilers for the first book.