March 27, 2010

Virtuous Vice

I’m behind schedule. It’s my own internal schedule that I’m behind. I am not behind on any actual deadlines, thank Gods. I’m fairly certain this is the first time I’ve fallen behind even on a mental deadline I’ve set.

Remember that prologue I was working on? I spent about a week or so working on it only to come to the conclusion that 1) it wasn’t right for the story and 2) it seriously just wasn’t working. The first time I realized it wasn’t working was when I hit a point where I was on the verge of tears. I stepped away from the book, to give myself some breathing room and time to calm down. Perhaps, I was being too critical. Once I calmed down, I went back to work on it. A few days later, I hit that point of utter frustration again. It was then that I realized I wasn’t being overly critical.

Why didn’t the prologue work after I spent two hours mulling over it before even putting pen to paper? I cannot say. I can only say that from my perspective, it didn’t. It didn’t feel right. There are things that play out better in our minds than they do on paper. You have to be able to judge the worth of a scene and some times, in order to do that, you’ve got to pour it out and see how it dances on page. It danced well enough, but I was not happy with it. A prologue should bring something to a story and I felt it took away more than it gave. In my eyes, it lacked that certain je ne sais quoi.

Once I stopped trying to force something that wasn’t working – Guess what? I found a path that worked. Go figure, that.

If I’d accepted the fact that it wasn’t working the first time, then I probably wouldn’t have fallen behind schedule. My determination to try and make it work got the best of me.

As in life, there are times in writing when you come to a crossroad. While my muse stood, pointing to a specific path and offering guidance, I stubbornly turned around and ventured into a dark cave, only to emerge some hours later with a sour look and disheveled hair.

There are times when determination can work in your favor. Yet, there are also times when, in order to succeed, you have to know how to relent.


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