Last night was a reiteration of “the night” at the conference. The night where I had a few scant hours to redraft a written proposal in a completely different genre. That night I spent several hours on the phone with R, bouncing ideas off of him, trying to untangle my own ideas by talking them out. In the end, it seemed to work since I got a doable proposal out of it.
Well last night we weren’t on the phone, and I have more than a few hours to figure it out (though if I *could* get it figured out in a few hours, I might feel a little less deadline-pressured). Back and forth and back and forth. And the more we talked, the more I realized that I have been thinking far too much in these two boxes. There is the MS1 box. And the MS2 box. I thought I was rewriting MS1 and panicked when I realized that maybe I should be rewriting MS2. But really, what I am actually writing is MS3…which can take elements of both MS’s, as long as I am willing to break those out of their boxes.
It took some time to wrap my head around this. MS1 has been sitting in its current form for nearly a decade. MS2 has also been in a neat little (albeit unfinished) package for quite some time. I caught myself often thinking “Well, I can’t combine them into anything workable, they’re too different”. But it’s not a matter of combining them. It’s a matter of taking what works out of each of them and fitting those pieces into the new MS – and since the proposal was fairly high level, I can still write what I had in the proposal. Just as MS3, rather than a ‘rewrite’ of anything.
So I have given myself two plot-working/outlining days. And after a day at it, I’ve learned why I don’t tend to outline. I know very well that I should. But I’m a very linear writer. I write in sequence, and sometimes I don’t really know what is going to happen next until I’m writing it. I know I shouldn’t do it like this – I’m always having to check for continuity errors and constantly having to go back in to tweak things so that they’ll make more sense. That being said, formed habits die hard. Today I made pages and pages of notes, both on paper and on screen, but they are mostly linear, and highly repetitive. And when I did hit a bottleneck, trying to get around it proved to be a fairly monumental task. I am so used to doing everything in a A-B-C fashion that the idea that I could write anything down that happens after D if D wasn’t sorted out is pretty hard for me to swallow. I’m still struggling with it. D *isn’t* sorted out and my brain is refusing to believe that it can move past that. After all, if D isn’t sorted out, who knows how E will turn out. Right?
Wrong. I already know that if I can sort out what happens post-D, D will likely just reveal itself. That’s already happened more than once today with other scenes, they just weren’t throwing me off as much as this one particular jam. So I’ll maybe hash it out with R a bit more tonight and take another stab at it tomorrow.
And then I had damn well better start getting some word count in.