Wednesday, March 28, 2007
The Morass in the Middle
Right now, I am deep in the morass that is the middle of my work-in-progress (not to be confused with the Slough of Despond, which is a whole 'nuther, much worse animal).
This is where not being a big planner/outliner has its greatest drawbacks. It really is kinda like wandering around in a dark swamp, with quicksand, crocs and wrong turns beckoning as you make your way along a very narrow path, with a few sign posts (i.e. my synopsis) to guide the way. I feel like I'm literally feeling/crawling my way along sometimes. I know where I'm going (the next signpost) but oh, baby, I could get in deep trouble along the way.
However, and this is why some of us don't do the outlining thing, this is also where the biggest, most exciting surprises can appear. Where the wrong turn turns out to be a better, more interesting and entertaining route.
Of course, sometimes I fall right into the ol' quicksand. If I realize it, well, I've lost some time and effort. If not, then I've got a bigger problem. But that's where my editor comes strolling along and reaches out a helping hand. She drags me back to the path and points the right way and, kindly, refrains from saying, "That way, Dolt."
Sometimes, the crocs get me. And by crocs, I mean the big doubts. The fear that I'm making all the wrong choices. That I don't know what I'm doing. What was I thinking when I entered this swamp? I have to wrestle those beasts into submission and just keep going. Ever wonder why some authors finish a book and look drained? Now you know.
And now you also know why some people just give up and why the rest of us keep going. It can be daunting, wandering around in the morass, but if the wrong turn turns out to be right? Now that's exciting.
(The above picture is of Yellow Water Billabong, Australia, taken during our trip there in 2002.)