Posted by: jeannineatkins | December 5, 2008

Ready! Set! Now…. Sit very very still

I’m in that space-staring stage of writing. Going back to fill in holes for a novel that’s been revised perhaps ten times but, I’ve been told, can still use more action, tension, drama. So I’m staring out the window, thinking, musing, fidgeting, trying not to chew my turtleneck, seeing what will come. Asking the view: what else? What now? And then?

This is a very undramatic stage of writing. I don’t get the pleasure of seeing pages fill, though out of the air, every few or fifteen minutes, I haul in a line or two that might make a difference. I persevere with sloth.
It feels inappropriate in — can I name this month? – when I’m having a wreath-making party in a few days (um, okay, two), a daughter coming home soon, papers to grade, presents to be bought and wrapped. There are cookies to bake! Hemlock branches to hack down and pine cones to gather.

But I’m with beckylevine who recently blogged about daring herself to do more this month just because it seemed so counter-intuitive. (Was that what you wrote, Becky? Close enough?) Sometimes the more we have to do outside our writing space, the better the writing comes. At least we’re avoiding the housework, and making those free falls that sometimes snare in words, sometimes not, but no one ever promised success every time.

Thanks to Becky, Lisa, Susan, Heidi, and others who posted twenty things they’re thankful for yesterday. It gave me a great lift. I started to compose, but the anxious revision mode of my mind set in, i.e, if I say I’m thankful for wonderful husband, daughter, students, LJ friends, who will I forget and think I care more about my lemon-scented hand cream? Which is very nice. Do the dogs get one line or each on their own, and what does it mean that the cat might not make the cut? Away from the pressure, I’m going back to staring – then later in the day get to tear the foil off chocolate kisses for cookie-making prep.



  1. Something like that. I was stuck yesterday, feeling procrastinative, when I, too, realized–oh! wrong direction. So I backed up and did some staring myself (very HARD, since I’d eaten some serious chocolate) and got a new chunk of outline.
    Good luck! I am not one who those plot events come to very easily, so you have my sympathy. Is it in the plot details themselves, or in the characters reactions to/interactions with, do you think?

  2. “trying not to chew my turtleneck”
    This perfectly captured your writing angst. Love it!
    You’ll make it. Just keep on pushing through.

  3. Happy staring! I’m doing the same thing and will have to make cookies this afternoon for a cookie swap tomorrow. I’m thinking biscotti.

  4. I like listening to you think out loud, Jeannine. I was nodding along in agreement with each paragraph.

  5. Congratulations on the new chunk of outline! I’m not getting chunks yet, but some ideas that don’t seem bad are popping in.
    Great question about plot details or the characters’ reactions. I’ll think about that!

  6. It’s good I get winter so I can torture my turtlenecks and get so much more done. Maybe. Thanks for the gentle push — back at you!

  7. Oh, good, Kathy! We can be staring and cookie-baking buddies! Biscotti sound good.

  8. Thanks, Linda! Hope we are on track.

  9. Sometimes, I think we’ve got ENOUGH happening, but its just that our characters get all casual about the events, instead of freaking out for us! 🙂

  10. You are brilliant! Yes, I think this may be happening. My characters NEED to chew on their turtlenecks or rend them or eat them or something more. I must sit and twist them around but … thanks, Becky, you are genius!

  11. Not a genius. Just SO been there, done that! 🙂

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