Updated: Sep 8, 2022
I made a mistake.
Two weeks ago, I went to Costco. I did the “peopling” thing and now, I am sick. I’m not Corona virus sick, but I’m congested, can’t sleep through the runny nose, sore throat sick.
Sickness does strange things to my brain, I’m sure it’s true for others: I feel like I can conquer the world but I can’t get out of bed. I have a thousand and one ideas but none of them make sense. Writing is like that for me too; the conquering without moving, the myriad ideas that won’t last to page two.
Ideas are like a song stuck in your head. At first it’s amazing, you can carry it around with you and tap your fingers, sing, hum… by the second or third day, you really just want to stab things and curse the horrible creator of that wretched earworm but oh baby, baby, how were you supposed to know that thing would follow you around for a week? It creeps into everything you do. It takes over and you don’t even see that something isn’t right here.
Thursday I couldn’t get out of bed at all. The pressure in my sinuses had my eyes watering most of the day. By Friday, I was feeling much better but I’d had such a chaotic sleep schedule, I needed a reminder it was Friday. Needless to say, I didn’t make much progress on my Prompt Series story. I did, however, come to an important conclusion.
The story of Liam and Rachel served its purpose. It brought me back to that elusive place in my head where worlds emerge and while I am still considering the lives of Characters B and C, they’re no longer my primary creative outlet.
I’ve talked before about how many more ideas I have when I’m actively writing. Even if I’m trying—struggling—to write but no words come, that creative center starts churning. The vein is tapped; ideas pour out.
And I had a really, really good one.
So for now, and until I’m stuck again, Rachel and Liam will stew in their personal agony while I focus instead on a young detective and the body somebody found in the woods. I wrote four pages in under an hour last night and for those who truly know me, that means I think I’m onto something big.
It’s okay to use your characters. We’re told to kill our darlings; their mistreatment, hurdles, goals, and victories make them stronger. It’s okay to create someone for the sole purpose of using them as a gateway to an easier writing experience. So yes, use your characters. Make your story write itself. Go forth.
Fiction projects: 3
Fiction research: 3 pages
Fiction words this week: 825
About the author: Theresa Green is the co-founder of The Writer's Workout and a crime fiction writer.