Wednesday, January 7, 2015

When a light colored dog in the dark is much like an idea and a plan

writing metaphor: moving through the living room at night
Ever walked through your house in the dark, nothing but shadows and memory to go on? I did this last night and though I know where everything lies, I also know that furniture shifts about through use, and occasional gnawed Nylabones will be just where I want to place a bare foot.

So last night, fully aware of the obstacles, I negotiated the stairs in the dark and perceived my yellow Lab Cagney at the bottom step quite pleased to see me. I was happy to see her because even in the dark she is pretty visible. I told her to go on ahead of me, and I just followed her yellow smudge through the living room, around two chairs, a freestanding table, a footstool, a vacuum and any dog bones she or our other Lab had left behind. From there I entered the back hall, then into the kitchen. She received a bowl of water and her allergy medicine, and I confirmed my daughter did in fact lock the back door.

So back to bed feeling secure and no bruised shins or jambed toes.

The point: writing is like this especially if you have done some planning or know the plot points you want to cover. 
  • down the stairs: initial planning steps to the writing process
  • Cagney, my guide: the overall idea
  • bones: interference, slow downs, painful backing up and cutting
  • moved furniture: characters with something to say or do and the unexpected changes in the process of getting from A to B that seemed so simple until the writing actually begins.
  • water bowl and allergy medicine: additional actions that get you to the writing goal, such as  beta readers, redrafting, cover design, formatting
  • returning to the living room, past its obstacles and back up the stairs: publication, advertising, blurbs, tweeting
  • crawling back into bed: done and ready to dream up another idea
So climbing out of a warm bed on a very cold night to check the back door was locked and give my dog her Claritin is a metaphor for the writing process. I could have gotten to my goal without Cagney, but I would have stumbled a lot, cursed over a biting bone or two poking into my arch with my full weight pressing it in before I could pull back, and with three doorways to get though, I would likely have banged at least one shoulder against a doorjamb. And that too is much like writing without a plan or intention to my writing.

Of course, there are many times when like my story (as is currently the case), Cagney has other plans then to get me to the back door. She'd rather hangout by the gas stove or on her bed staying warm, just as my hoped for scenes to close out a story keep generating new issues that need to be covered before the end I thought was in sight actually channels out my fingers.

If you liked this post, tweet it, and follow me. I'm bound to find another metaphor about writing and dogs. They are a large part of my life.


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