I used to have this vision of what it would be like when I became a full-time writer. I’d be sitting at my large mahogany desk, the sheer curtains would billow with the southerly breeze from across the lake, and words would flow from my brain through my fingers to the keyboard like electricity pulsing through a wire. A blissful Mona Lisa smile would tease my lips as metaphor and imagery transformed the blank page into a best selling novel.
Today as I sit at my IKEA birch desk staring at a draft of my manuscript covered in red pen and arrows that made sense at one time, I want to beat my head against the wall. My Work in Progress (WIP) has become a monster casting a huge, threatening shadow on the wall with its various heads and sharp teeth ready to devour me. Boris, my muse, where are you??
Work. Has. Stopped.
In my defense, it has been quite a year for us what with deciding to move to another city, decluttering the house in preparation for the garage sale, and staging the house for the real estate market. But shouldn’t the passion for, the joy of, the irresistible attraction to writing make the endeavor effortless nonetheless? No.
Here are the problems:
This has been going on for months. My WIP is like an enormous Hydra Monster with tentacles that suck in ideas from the ether whispering, “Thisss would be perffffect here.” My brain says, “Okay” and merrily incorporates yet another plot strand into my manuscript. It’s not until I read the draft aloud for the third time that I think, “Where the heck did that come from?”
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) was not my friend. Don’t get me wrong; I love the concept of NaNoWriMo, it just doesn’t fit my process. I went into NaNoWriMo with 20,000 words of my WIP, and wrote the requisite 50,000 by the end of November. It was somewhere in there that the Hydra Monster was conceived as I kept hearing, “Don’t try to make sense of it, just write the damn thing.” And write I did—anything I could think of to write. Now I have a draft containing the seeds of about three different novels. Hmmm…not all bad, actually.
Eve of Deconstruction
With apologies to Barry McGuire, I’m on the Eve of Deconstruction. After we move to our new home in mid-July, I plan to deconstruct the entire manuscript putting scenes into piles of the (at least) seven different plot threads I currently have going. Selecting the Major Plot Thread, I will see which, if any, of the other six wrap around it in a sane way and then begin to reconstruct my novel. I will carefully file the remaining plot threads to use another day. It all sounds so easy, right? Stay tuned…
Only a best friend can tell you to get rid of the Back Story and remain a friend. I can trim this baby down to about two thirds of its current size just by following Janet’s wise counsel. I need to think of my WIP more as a stand-alone and less as a sequel.
There are all these pesky characters from The Cavanaugh House yammering to be included in the WIP—and my readers love them and beg for more. To the disappointment of all involved, I may have to trim the cast of characters since I’m introducing so many new people in this book. The cast is becoming more of a…well, Hydra Monster comes to mind.
Once I get back on track with my WIP, I will sit in my new office and let the words flow through my finger tips like magic through Harry Potter’s wand and let my muse Boris have his way with me. And dream of that mahogany desk.
Any advice would be appreciated from those of you who have wrangled with your own Hydra Monster .