Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Invisible Progress

Today I took great strides with my work-in-progress without adding a single word to the draft. Actually, that's a lie: I think I reworked a sentence. But most of my sleepy-eye, coffee-drinking, back-cracking, bird-listening-to, career-rethinking, doubt-saturating, draft-despising, motivation-erasing work this morning was a long discursus in my working document about the rest of the book.

The first two thirds have felt like setup. A long pitch. The "deep breath before the plunge." Getting ready. I have two or three (or six or ten, it feels like) separate plot elements that need to come together in a symphonic crescendo of resolution: that's called the end.

These elements aren't really subplots so much as questions raised that need answers; choices made that need implications; characters poised for growth who now need to take a next step and either stand or fall.

And so I realized I'd better quit indulging myself in thousand-word explorations and get down to the business of wrapping up this story so that the story is surprising but inevitable. Elegant.

And that meant taking the time to list and then work through upcoming issues. It's not even an outline, just a dozen paragraphs of questions and answers, dead ends, and ideas. So: no new writing today, but loads of progress.

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