Writing is an act of discovery as much as it is an act of communication. I forget that sometimes, but then there are days when it comes crashing back into my consciousness: like today.
My current WIP has been struggling forward on lame legs for a while — I love the idea in general, but it has failed to stand up under its own weight for some time. Like a newborn calf, it struggles to stand, it collapses and has to be helped up. And since I’ve never quite been able to figure out how to keep it steady, I’ve struggled to find a groove with the project. It’s been tough going, tougher than I would like and certainly tougher than I sometimes make out.
So today I kicked back and let a few of my characters talk some sharknado out, and holy carp. Out of the conversation sprang the solution to the problem that’s been plaguing this story from the start. It gives shape to the entire narrative, gives motivation to the protagonist, gives foreshadowing and tension to the early chapters and closure to the late chapters.
I haven’t gotten there in eight months of thinking about this story, and finally — while in the midst of a perfectly ordinary writing session, I might add — it just pops out, when I’m not even thinking about it. Which probably means it was clunking around in my dome the whole time, I just didn’t know how to let it out. And it almost certainly means I would never have found the solution if I hadn’t set my shoulder against the problem and worked forward anyway.
One of my favorite quotes on creativity comes from Pablo Picasso: Inspiration exists, but it has to catch you working.
Today’s session was a perfect example of that. I needed this today.