It’s not often that I have an entire 24-hour period free of responsibility or strict plans. Holy mackerel, I’ve been looking forward to today for weeks: I envisioned sleeping in, delving deep into my story without needing to watch the clock, maybe baking some heal-the-sick-amazing double-chocolate chip cookies. Mmmmm. The day was going to be perfect.
Of course, though, reality is never so pretty.
1. My neighbors decided something desperately needed hammering at a very early hour. Very early. And it had to take place on our shared wall, which butts up to my bed. …Grrrrrr. (I don’t know what it is about my neighbors and pounding things.)
2. I’d been in denial about chores. They’ve piled up for a few days, and the dutiful, practical me insists I complete them before any writing take place.
3. Just checked my cupboard. Completely out of sugar. Uh huh.
Now, none of these hurdles is insurmountable– Meijer’s is just down the street, after all, and there are plenty of hours remaining this afternoon for laundry AND writing. But the day has certainly not progressed flawlessly.
I learned the same lesson this week with my story. You may know what I’m talking about: The characters will not cooperate. Originally, I had all these plot-points and plans for the long-term shape of the book, but noooooo, my characters had to go and grow personalities, and now a few of the scenes I’ve written no longer fit, and the protagonist insists on walking down a nasty, garbage-stricken alley when I know she should really be on the other side of town, and she stubbornly won’t say what I want her to say, and now she wants a tattoo, and man, I have to re-sculpt my plan for the book. I’ve lost control over my story.
In the bigger picture, this isn’t a bad thing. The writing is growing organically, rather than sticking to a potentially-lifeless imposed script. I like that my characters are mouthing back.
But in this moment? Half of what I know about the plot and setting and characters will be chucked. It’s unsettling.
Who knows how this story will end up? Certainly not me.
Guess I’m in for a ride.
Yeah, I’m gonna need those cookies.