Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Writing Prompt #16

16) Write a paragraph/scene that begins with “There I was,”


Here’s mine:

There I was, sitting at my computer trying to write something because today I had a writing prompt. I thought it was a nice change of pace for a prompt, something of a free-write. In fact, I thought it would be easy. But, random creativity seemed to be escaping me.

I was in full-blown plotting mode.

Reading books on craft had really got me thinking. Where before I had had (I thought) a solid start to my story, there were now huge gaping holes in my mind. Wind whistled through empty space where conflict, action, pacing, characterization and “why in the hell would they do that” should have been. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with the unknown.

Did I just use “suddenly?” Hadn’t I just edited out every instance of that from the pages I worked on over the weekend?

Free-writes aren’t edited, I told myself sternly (adverb). Shut up, internal editor, shut up.

I was obsessed with writing a stronger novel this time around, in all aspects, and that obsession was going to get me stymied, I feared. How could I write, I asked myself, a single page when I hadn’t worked out (blank). Fill in the blank here with a million details on world-building, plot, motivation and so on.

I needed to focus.

I needed to make lists.

These holes needed to be filled, and they needed to be filled well, not just with the first thing that came to mind. The amount of work I was suddenly facing was enormous. But the challenge…oh the challenge.

Behind this mountain, when I could imagine that the gaps in my knowledge had been filled, I could see the very tip of what this novel could be. I had in my mind a vision of what I could do with this ms, if I put the hard work in now.

Those holes, those missing answers to the what-ifs and whys, they will be filled.

I can do this.

1 comment:

  1. There I was, sitting at my desk at work, when I noticed that "suddenly" She had created a new writing prompt. Well, perhaps not so "suddenly" (especially as she worked to edit all of those out of something, or so I've been told); I knew that the new writing prompt was coming, as night follows day.

    I wonder if she realizes how much pressure knowing I'm one of the few who responds and encourages her puts on me to... well, respond (and thereby encourage) her in these Prompt exercises. Of course, there is "pressure" and then there is real pressure; its really self-imposed, this alleged pressure. She would be the first one to tell me to not answer if I wasn't in the mood, or didn't have the time (as indeed, I have not, as witnessed by the last few; inheriting a project from someone who has been re-assigned for not meeting deadlines has left little time for such digressions, however enjoyable).

    (Note - as proof there is a 25 minute break here, where I had to do a fresh code build for deployment once my compatriot Bill gets here!)