Every once in a while, I hit a wall in the middle of a chapter. I reach a point where I know where I am in the chapter and in the story and I can see Points A and B very clearly, but for some reason, the path between them is as clear as mud and I spend an hour and burn a ton of frustrated brain cells trying to craft a single sentence.
Adding Jessie Clarke’s flying monkey hoard of bullies, Andy’s testosterone-filled threats of paralysis brushing against his ear and Corey’s unnatural hatred to her relation to Anthony, the compulsion to speak to her just once more brewed and simmered until he had dressed again and found himself on the front porch, shivering against the cold.
I think I wrote a page of notes just to create a sentence about which I feel very lukewarm and know may not survive into a final edit of the novel. This is the nature of a wall, however. Usually, I know what I want to say and if I write it in simple terms, I eventually find a beautiful way of saying it, but with a true wall, I can’t even keep my train of thought going long enough to understand what I’m trying to say.
The worst part is that a wall consisting of two paragraphs takes the strength of completing an entire chapter in one sitting, with not even half the satisfaction.
I also made some notes on some latter chapters which shed some light on Dana Barrington’s character and actually makes her a real character instead of someone who’s just there for a minute. My biggest current problem with the novel is that I keep adding characters and let them steal the show momentarily, only to have them fade and go never discussed again.
I remember writing notes to myself that if I was going to bring up Damen’s relationship with Tabitha, then I had to not only go somewhere with it, but also utilize her throughout the rest of the book. When I writing the third and fourth chapters, I realized that I had no plan for her for the rest of the novel and now have to almost work backwards to make sure that she, Dana and a half dozen other subsidiary folks have purposeful roles. Anyway, back on Dana Barrington…
I had to pull my old completed version of Flight out of hiding to find all the details I could about Dana and I could not help reading just a few lines of Flight. The other night, I thought to myself how proud I was of Flight when I first finished it, but even reading a few lines now and again makes me nauseated. I want to edit it so bad! It has all the problems of a first novel and the more I think about it, the more I’m embarrassed that I let others read it. That said, I’m glad I wrote it and was able to pull an interesting (and soon to be purpose-filled) character from it.
There are less than a thousand words that pertain to Dana in Flight, but her name popped up immediately when I knew I was going to include a Flight character. Making it even better is that her name fits my naming theme flawlessly which makes wonder where the line between divine intervention and coincidence lies.
That said, I made some notes on Jill today and I had to stop when I started to feel a little disgusted with myself. As read through some of my previous notes, I thought, “I’ve got way too much Jesus in here. I’ll have to take that-” and I didn’t finish the thought because I didn’t really want to think it. There is a good deal of Jesus in Jill, in its current state, but I really didn’t like how easy a “solution” came to me; makes me feel like a sellout to my faith. Jill already knocks on some Christian fundamentals, but I can’t help feeling ashamed that I didn’t think, “Let’s spread some of this Jesus stuff across the book” instead of trying to get rid of it.
I am going to pledge to myself right now that I’d rather see Jill, or even Damen for that matter, lay unpublished than remove my faith from them. The themes about race and sexuality are enough of a marketing ploy without the need of turning my back on God to realize my dreams.
I think I wrote 1359 words today (I can’t remember where I stopped last night, for the life of me!) and, though I’m tired, I know tomorrow’s another day.
And now, for the reason why I didn’t make it 1360 words…
Aaaaand, the aftermath (turn off the video comments for the full scene):
It’s both 😦 and :).