Want to know what it’s like to be behind the scenes with an author while she’s in her “I’m such a fraud!” stage? Then read on, because here it is–-my “I’m such a fraud!” stage.
There are times when I’m golden and can do no wrong when I’m writing. Then there are other times, like now, when I’m convinced everything I’ve published to this point was a fluke. I feel like something’s broken inside, and I’m just now putting my finger on it.
Remember when you were a kid, and you and your siblings would spend an afternoon spinning a tale between you of some cops and robbers scenario or some other make-believe game?
“I’ll do this!”
“Yeah, and then I’ll do that!
“Yeah, and then ..”
“And thens” are necessary when fleshing out a story. It’s all well and good that you have your characters drawn out perfectly, that you know what you want to ultimately happen to each of them as the book comes to a close, that you have a few gripping chapters already written and a dramatic climax already outlined in your head. If you don’t know how you’re going to get your well-drawn characters to that dramatic climax, you’re dead in the water.
Well, look for me at the bottom of the lake.
Seriously. My “and then” is broken. That’s what I finally put my finger on as to what’s wrong. I have some killer opening chapters on several manuscripts, and all those manuscripts die somewhere after the fifth chapter because I can’t seem to figure out a series of actions to get my characters where I want them to go.
How does this even happen? What makes imagination disappear, ideas evaporate?
My first thought is that I’ve overdosed on reality. Like it or not, I have responsibilities that weigh heavily on my mind and seem to drain every bit of imaginative thought. Which bugs the tar outta me–every writer has responsibilities. Why aren’t they paralyzed with the inability to come up with a viable series of “and thens”?
More importantly is this question: how does one go about fixing the “and then” machine?
Giving everything a rest helps. Brainstorming with friends helps. Writing something useless and nonsensical helps. I know what to do.
Reckon I ought to set about doing it.
Linda W. Yezak in a forest in east Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She holds a BA in English and a graduate certificate in Paralegal Studies. Thirty years later, she’s finally putting her degree in English to good use, combining it with her natural inclination toward story-telling to create fun, unique novels. Check out her latest book, Simulacrum. Kirkus Reviews: “A fast-paced thriller with an intriguing scientific mystery…. plenty of similarities to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.”