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It was just recently brought to my attention that I have a habit that is fatal for my stories.
It was on Melissa Douthit's blog where she quotes Neil Gaiman about writing:
It's a weird thing, writing.
Sometimes you can look out across what you're writing, and it's like looking out over a landscape on a glorious, clear summer's day. You can see every leaf on every tree, and hear the birdsong, and you know where you'll be going on your walk.
And that's wonderful.
Sometimes it's like driving through fog. You can't really see where you're going. You have just enough of the road in front of you to know that you're probably still on the road, and if you drive slowly and keep your headlamps lowered you'll still get where you were going.
And that's hard while you're doing it, but satisfying at the end of a day like that, where you look down and you got 1500 words that didn't exist in that order down on paper, half of what you'd get on a good day, and you drove slowly, but you drove.
And sometimes you come out of the fog into clarity, and you can see just what you're doing and where you're going, and you couldn't see or know any of that five minutes before.
And that's magic.
My fatal habit?
When I find myself in the fog of the middle of a story I don't keep driving. And what is even worse, I kill the engine. Which not only stops all movement forward but douses the lights as well.
And then I wait for the fog to lift.
And wait. And wait.
Meanwhile tying my mind into a pretzel of twisted hope and fear.
Not only does the fog not lift but the wilderness to either side reclaims the road and a tangle of vines envelopes the car winding around the engine and wending its way inside to wrap my limbs and face, immobilizing and blinding me so that I can see neither the fog nor the vines nor the car. They are the reflection of the tangle that is the story in my mind.
Once this has happened is it too late for the story? Do I need to abandon it?
But I could no more abandon it than I could my own child.
So maybe that means forging ahead through the fog on foot with my trusty white cane to feel for the edge of the road and my crochet hook to crochet the vines into an orderly hedge.