Updated: Sep 8, 2022
I felt so empowered last week. I inked up a pen, opened a new journal (this one has a peacock on the cover!) and set to work. I had a line in my head that I was so in love with, I couldn’t stand not seeing it on the page one more minute.
The second that sky blue ink touched paper, a whole world poured out. Rich characters, death, humor, an accent, this thing has it all. I can see these two standing in this place, shocked, arguing with each other in hushed tones, fighting the urge to run from what they know awaits them: familial obligation. The horror!
To be fair…
To be fair, these two have a shaky relationship at best. He has a past she’s about to discover and she’s hiding the job offer she received three days prior. All this from the first prompt in Series 1.
A week full of interviews and excitement later, I haven’t touched the story. I keep it close, just in case, but I haven’t even opened the journal since last Sunday. It feels like every word is a struggle.
I’ll repeat that: every word. Is. A. STRUGGLE.
My theory is that my brain can only function one of two ways at a time; I can be creative or I can be analytical. During the week, I focus on being there for interviews (our internship closes to applications today) so I’m using the left—technical—half of that grey-matter mush in my skull. When we finish the week’s interviews and all my other WW work is caught up, I can finally switch to the right—creative—side and watch movies in my head. I wish I could do both in one day. Maybe I should sleep more… or at all. Coffee is nice.
Where was I going with this?
If every word is pulling teeth, I’m probably on the wrong path. Not so existentially as to stop writing, just that the plot and characters disagree. This could easily mean the characters are wrong for the story, rather than the story being wrong for the characters. When I’m stuck, I have to consider both sides and decide which is the more important part: these characters or this story. Maybe someone has a trait that argues with a future plot point and they’re screaming desperately at me to shut up and listen. Maybe the plot won’t move because one of the characters isn’t contributing and even though both sides are great on their own, they just don’t mesh.
I’m pretty sure Rachel is going to leave Liam at the bar and take that job offer on the other side of town. Showing up puts him back in the fold anyway but neither of them wants to admit it. Yet. Something’s still missing.
Fiction projects: 2
New fiction ideas: 3
Fiction words this week: 573
Arcade tickets: 1 🎉
About the author: Theresa Green is the co-founder of The Writer's Workout and a crime fiction writer.