Wednesday, March 16, 2016

When at first you don't succeed, try, try and then try something else, then try again

Standing Stone
I've been working on a novel, Joanie and Friends, that is based on three retired women who have their lives pretty much set the way they wanted them. They've worked hard and married good men. Life is running along well. And then it doesn't. All three women share in the telling of how they proceed when living life is not the easy road it had been.

I have the conflicts, the characters and the movement of the plot all blocked out in my mind.  I have my notes and the first 13,000 words. But these last three months, hearing their voices has not been easy. I've used a number of strategies to get my characters talking, but the results though not bad, have just been a constant wheedling, wrenching and forced expression.

Lately, some notes I have on a fantasy story have been rising up in my mind. Of course, I have been pushing it away because I already have this big project with the ladies that is nowhere near where it should be in word count.

Yesterday, I thought I would just look at my notes on "Standing Stone." By the end of yesterday, I had more than 3,000 words written but not for Joanie and Friends. So I am stepping away from the contemporary novel and taking up the fantasy story.

With my other books, I was always work on two to three books, poems, stories or a combination of the three at the same time, so why I suddenly decided to focus entirely on one work is a mystery. I think I'll let the ladies rest for a bit while I work on this fantasy. They're awfully pushy women when they want to be, and when they're ready to share more of their story, I am sure I won't be able to ignore them.

So the lesson I learned is to pay attention to my process. I move from work to work, getting each done in its own time. So "Standing Stone" it is, until it's Joanie and Friends or something else. Perhaps I'll work on my poetry collection Fine China Family next. It's been whispering and clinking in the background off and on, too.

Leave a comment. What's your process?  What happens when you don't follow it?


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