I wrote two scenes today and it was so much fun! Honestly, you’d think that awful day of writing a few days ago, when every word was agony and the final result was an embarrassment, had never happened.
BikeProf, who’s busy writing the world’s scariest novel, wrote something the other day about one of the most extraordinary things that happens when you write fiction, something that keeps me going. And no, it’s not the candy I held back from my son’s earthquake kit. (Although, come to think of it, a little sugar, judiciously applied, is sometimes just what’s needed.) But it is something sort of like candy in the rush of pleasure it produces, although I hope not in the crash that comes after consumption peaks.
Here’s how it happens. You’re writing along, up to the point where you’ve sort of figured out you want to go. But when you get to the end of the known, you find yourself continuing. It’s as if you’ve chosen to go over a cliff. But you don’t perish. Instead, you find out there is something under your feet after all. (I have this terrible feeling I might have described this very experience at one point in my blog. The stepping into the air and finding something solid under your feet happens in an Indiana Jones movie, I’ll admit right now. But it happens in writing too.)
What’s under your feet are things like a revelation a character makes that you didn’t think would be made at that moment, but then you see that there is such a powerful motivation in the scene you’ve set up for that revelation to happen that it works right there. Or a character says something about the past that you hadn’t known happened. But indeed it did, and necessarily so. Or your writing suddenly becomes felicitous, and you find yourself blurting out something that could not have been written by a pedestrian soul like yourself.
I don’t do drugs. But I do like the mind expanding quality of stepping off the edge and finding out what’s there. It’s a ghostly and cool experience. It’s a big reason why I write.
Today I wrote 3,000 words — two scenes. I know they’ll be longer scenes when I go back to them, but for now I’m leaving them as they are. I figure if I can get in two or three more days of this kind of writing, I’ll be knocking at the door that says Exit before too long here.