I am not sure to what I should attribute my incredibly productive first few days, but I have been incredibly productive and it’s kind of awesome. The Project is alive and on fire; it’s sprouting extra arms and heads and other appendages that I don’t have words for. I know better than to think that it will be like this all the way through August, but for the moment, the tide is high and I’m riding that wave. 1600 words yesterday, 1800 words today. It’s a damn good feeling, balm for my languishing writer’s soul, a cold beer on a hot day.
In my musings on the play as I left it many years ago, there were a lot of criticisms that sprung to mind. The rambling nature of the way the characters speak for one, the deus-ex-machina-esque nature of the ending, the distinct lack of pyrotechnics. One critique that never occurred to me, however, was not “he needs a love interest.” There was simply enough going on in the play that it felt (to me) complete without one. In the meantime, it was suggested by my dear wife that a love interest would serve the story well.
“Why,” I asked.
“It just does,” she said.
“Why,” I insisted.
“Girls like love stories,” she said.
That makes sense enough, I suppose. She is a lot smarter than me, after all. So I thought about how to make the love interest work within the scope of the play as it existed. And it just didn’t work. It didn’t make sense to me. Couldn’t make it jive. It became part of the reason, I suppose, that I fell away from the project and didn’t come back to it until now; it was a problem I couldn’t fix. (There I go again, blaming past me for my problems. That guy really screwed my life up. Except for the things he got right. Ahh, I can’t be mad at that guy.)
Now, however, armed with new resolve, new confidence, and new pants (true story, none of the pants from back then fit; yes, that’s me tooting my own horn, because occasionally I need to remind myself of the little things I do that are awesome), I am attacking the problem head-on (apply directly to the forehead). I am trying, in this grand experiment, to lean into the problems that seem unfixable. They’re going to come up, and they don’t have to be fixed at the moment they come up. Love story doesn’t work in the context of the story you wrote? Create a new context. Work around it. Try something new and crazy and different. So today, the story grew a new character.
I have to be careful to make sure that she’s not a tossed-off perfect creature, but on a first spin she seems like a pretty good fit. There was a natural place to bring in somebody new anyway; why not make that character a central one?
Lots to think about, lots to write about. The temptation will be to consider the extra writing I’ve gotten done over the last couple days as a credit in the bank and let myself slack off from a day or two. Gotta stomp that down.