I’m working on the final part of my current work in progress. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for this draft.
I met with my critique partner a few weeks ago. I was anxious to hear what she thought about my big climax scene. So when she talked about how intense it was to read, I was pretty excited. It’s hard to know if the stuff I write actually translates over into heart-pounding fun for the reader. So that validation is always awesome.
She wasn’t done. “But it seems like it was over kind of fast.”
We skype. So she can see my face. On the outside I was all, “Hmm, interesting.”
On the inside I was llama-facing.
She was right of course.
But I had a problem. That was it. My big reveal. My exciting climax. I didn’t have any other ideas.
So I sat down and worked and worked and worked for days brainstorming and taking notes. I analyzed several different scenarios and outcomes. I made notes on things that would never see the light of day. But I needed to get them out of my head so I could get to the gems that were hiding in the recesses of my brain.
And the gems were there! It turns out I wasn’t really out of ideas. I just needed to look a little harder!
After countless hours over several days I looked up from my notes to breathe. The house was a disaster and I’m pretty sure we had the wrong dog in the backyard. I took a break to be a mom, satisfied that I’d worked through some really tough things.
When my life was in order again, I got back to the computer screen. That was when I made a horrific, heart-stopping discovery.
My outline was gone.
I couldn’t find it anywhere. All my amazing notes. My hours and hours of work. I searched every corner of my computer. What kind of writer doesn’t save their work???
My husband spent the evening watching me scowl over the computer. I refused to believe it wasn’t on there somewhere. Then he said quietly, “You know, there’s something to be said for writing it all out again.”
Truth. It was hard to hear, but he was right of course. Rewriting lost work means the best stuff stays with you, and the blah stuff gets left behind.
So I pulled up a fresh document and faced that blank screen.
I’m still working on this section. It keeps growing. Mostly in exciting ways. I sent a portion of it to my critique partner last week. She did NOT tell me it was too short! In fact, the overall feedback told me I was moving in the right direction. She had the right kinds of questions and felt all the right feels in all the right places. Always a good sign.
This writing thing is a slow process for me. Nothing happens as fast as I’d like. It’s grueling. It’s painful. But it’s awesome too. And sometimes I can look back at the crumbly canyon wall and yell, “Not today!”