Monday, December 1, 2008

{ 3 } Panic In My Brain Space!

I was sitting in my car at lunch break, about 1 a.m., talking on the phone to my BF. He asked if I brought lunch and, since I had not, he told me to at least do something productive with my half hour. Productive, huh? Well, of course that led me to thinking about the novel. I decided to formulate a brief outline in my head so I will be better prepared when it's actually outline writing time.

Then it struck me: I don't have a novel. I have an opening, a huge plot point, and, finally, an ending. I have two underdeveloped characters. I have no side stories. I have no catalysts or motivators. I have a three line description of a story I have been working on for almost a third of my life. When telling people what my novel is about, I filled in all the details with "Then some time passes and..."

How could this happen? Easy: since I have not had an ending I have not been able to write. Since I have not been able to write, I didn't bother to formulate the actual story. Simple, stupid answer. I got arrogant and figured that, by the time it was time to write, I'd have it all worked out in my head. Oops. I forgot to think about it.

Still sitting in my car, panic sets in. I start babbling to myself trying to remember any book I've ever read and what the point of it was. Blank. Nothing. I've read hundreds if not thousands of books and I can't remember the name or plot of a single one of them. I try to mentally scan my bookshelves back at home. It's all a blur. I try to think of movies I've seen. All that comes to mind as of recent is The Strangers. That is so not helpful.

I finally start to get titles: Anthem by Ayn Rand. Too simple; no good here. Dead Eye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut. Really? You're not Vonnegut, baby. The Sum of All Fears by Tom Clancy. What? I haven't even read that book!

For the life of me I could not figure out what people in books actually do, especially my people in my book. I know what they don't do. They don't mill around while the writer says, "Then some time passes and...". That is not a plot. Hell, it's not even remotely anything even valid. Things happen in books. That's why they exist. To be obvious, without a story, you have no story. Duh.

There I sat, still mumbling to myself, not caring that I was in full view of my coworkers in their cars, probably thinking I had lost my mind. And I had. I presented myself with a whole new set of problems, ones that no amount of research in the world will fix.

So what to do? Other then cry, I just need to start working on the actual writing of this damn thing. I need to get to know my central characters a little better and find out what makes them tick. I need more story for my story.

Crap. I'm doomed...

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