Corn Maze

6 Comments

Something’s got to give, or this is going to be one long, hot summer.  I said this last year when my editor rejected my first 100 pages. I don’t mind hot, or the fact that it’s summer, but I sure would like to spend it revising instead of writing “x” number of endings over and over.

I’ve surpassed the previous word counts for the first two books.  This one’s at 98,000 – thus far – can we say dayum?  Yet, here I am, struggling (still) to find the ending.  I’m sure I’ve got a load of drivel I need to remove, the stuff I’m writing in I might keep or not.  Earlier pages I might keep -or not.  You might be thinking, so?  Stop writing.  Stop writing until you know the ending – then write.  That seems like such a Doh! moment, doesn’t it?  So, why do I keep on?  I keep on because I believe I have a better chance at a sudden discovery, an epiphany type moment by writing continuously, than not moving the story along at all.

It’s like being in a corn maze, you’ll never get to the end, THE END and get out if you just stand there.

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Writing this book has been just like that.  In a maze, you go in knowing where you are, but eventually as you keep on, and you go around corner after corner, left, right, left –  you begin to think you’ll never find your way out.  You end up at one dead end after another.  You backtrack.  You know you’ll eventually get there, and you just have to keep going.  Same thing here.

The way I look at it is, even if I write stuff I’ll eventually remove or maybe put in a different spot, I don’t want to just stop.  I have for a day or two, and of course that’s when I’m wandering around, blank faced, preoccupied, distant, silent – lost.  I’m a lot of fun then. SIGH.  (says my husband)

At this point, one thing I know is,  I don’t want to kill my bad guy.  I like him – in all his badness.  Sure, he’s a killer, he’s a bit strange, but I don’t want to break that connection with him forever.  Meanwhile, my protagonist needs to figure out how to “get him.” She needs to set him up – somehow.  I’ve twisted and turned ideas over and that’s been like looking under rocks for the answer.  All I find is bugs, dirt, and a few slugs.  Nothing surprising, just stuff I want to kick out of the way.  What I want, and what I need is a giant poisonous snake.  Something that screams “Shit!!!  Drop the rock, drop the rock!!!”  Maybe I’m  over-thinking all of it. Maybe I don’t have to re-invent the wheel.  Maybe as long as the writing is solid, it could be as simple as turning a corner and suddenly, there’s the end, and I can see my way out –  then the snake strikes!

See how that all worked out?  I know I need a poisonous snake under a rock at the end of my corn maze!  Wow.  ***Perfect!

How long has it taken you to find your way out of your story?

 

***tomorrow I will have decided it needs to be a goat.

6 thoughts on “Corn Maze

  1. Goat! Goat! Goat!
    I love goats, they’re smart and friendly and nice. Great pets, but don’t teach them to jump onto your back when they’re babies, it kinda leads to trouble when they’re big.

    In my limited experience of writing novels I’ve found I never quite now how long I have to go when I get near the end. I think, Hmmm, about 4000 words to go, write 2000 the next day and think, Hmmm, about 4000 words to go. This can go on for a few days. Then I can start one day, thinking I have 4000 words to go, write a bit, the end suddenly presents itself, I write The End, and check the word count for the day. 800.
    The story knows best. I just let it write itself, hope for the best, and occasionally get it.

    • You forgot to say they’re cute too! At least as little babies….hm, don’t teach them to jump on your back = trouble. I can only imagine. But…maybe not.

      But yes! Goat! Because…who would expect a goat under a rock??? Exactly! And so, there’s the dilemma….what wouldn’t be expected? And around I go.

      But I do like what you also said about “the end suddenly presents itself.” I stopped worrying about word count back at 90K…because much like you say, I decided to just let it write itself, and so I hope the end presents itself b/c I swear I’ve never had this situation before and it’s driving me nuts. (as if I’ve had a lot of experience – greenhorn here too.)

  2. Revisit the lyrics of Alanis Morissette’s, Ironic. Sometimes examining someone’s else’s irony helps.
    There is nothing more impaction then subtlety as surprise. There doesn’t have to be a giant snake or a rabid goat under your rock, a tiny brown recluse does a pretty good spine-tingling job too.

  3. How does his death matter to the plot? Must it be death, or will quadraplegia do?

    Is his death a comeuppance, a punishment, a disempowerment…?

    I killed my favouritest character in the whole universe because his death Needed To Happen.

    • Is his death a comeuppance, a punishment, a disempowerment…?

      Any or all of the above…the protag would want him to be arrested (at least) or somehow meet his end (at best), yet I question how satisfying an ending like that would be – i.e. predictable, while at the same time, an ending showing him sipping a cocktail on some beach is overdone too.

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