The past couple of days my mind has been a constant stream of thought. It felt like processing after an EMDR session, except instead of introspection on my life, I was trying to figure out my novel.
Like I said in Don’t Throw It Out, my novel needs reworked. I received positive feedback from the judges that 1) I had solid writing; 2) I had an audience; 3) Other than grammar, I just needed to increase the conflict/tension and I had a book.
Oh, that’s all. Ha.
My little mind started revving like the wheels of a locomotive heading down a mountain track. What do I keep, what do I take out? And the more I thought, the deeper and deeper I went into fear. I sifted through the pages and realized that what I thought was tension was just the same scene played over and over. My characters were flat. Can anything good come from this?
Thankfully I had a therapy session scheduled and although we didn’t talk about the book, we did talk about space. Acknowledging what is without trying to figure out the why. And from that session, this morning I sat down with a sharp No. 2 pencil and plotted out where my story would go.
My mind stopped inhaling and took a long breath out. And in that space, everything made sense.
When faced with problems, it is our human inclination to act. We look for what we should be doing, what we can reasonably do, and why we should be doing it. There isn’t anything wrong with that approach, but it easily leads us down a path of: fear, frustration, and doubt.
But space? The only questions we ask ourselves; is what is? What is my problem and acknowledge it. I don’t have to have a solution and I don’t have to know why, I just have to say what reality is.
For my book, that reality is I needed tension. It didn’t matter how great my writing was, if the story didn’t go anywhere I wouldn’t capture my reader.
From that space, I was able to breathe life back into the story. Now it is going somewhere. Now the characters are changing and growing the way they should. In fact, the way they did when I first started writing this book almost four years ago.
I realized that my exhale out, was more important than my inhale.