Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Writing Through Grief, Part 4



So, last night I tried to talk to someone about Mom, and the whole situation this past year, and I swear, I couldn’t get a coherent thought out. My brain just refuses to work in a linear fashion right now.
And the anger. I feel so fragile, so brittle, like the merest blow will shatter me. I’m constantly having to rein the anger back in, over every stupid little thing.
Writing ... oh, yeah, I said I’d get to that. Over the past year, I’ve put proposals in for three different novella collections but nothing was chosen. Probably a good thing, because with everything else going on with Mom, I honestly didn’t have time for a contract.
In October, though, once we had Mom settled into rehab care, I thought I’d be able to settle in and focus on my writing. On doing something productive.
The suggestion was made by my agent that I come up with another historical romance, something aimed at a certain popular category romance publisher. With no little grumbling, I found my thoughts going back to a particular story idea I’d first written out as a novella proposal, a story that started seriously coming to life while I was staying in Missouri in May, training to do Mom’s dialysis, but then was turned down as a novella.
The ideas started percolating again. From October through December I made modest progress, first on a fantasy saga that I’ve pretty much been working on since I was 15, then on the new historical. In late December, I found myself writing a short stretch of story that suddenly upped the stakes for all the characters and changed the game as I knew it.
On January 2, Mom flew away home to Jesus.
Now, I’m stuck. I’m distracted. I don’t know how to get the characters out of the mess they’ve created, not even sure I believe they can grow enough for a decent character arc, or so their winding up together wouldn’t just be a setup for disaster. (I did mention this is romance, right?)
In the middle of being flat irritated at the characters (and even Joss Whedon commented that characters aren’t any good unless they have a will of their own) I find myself in the position of needing to work up a proposal for this story. That means not only polishing up the first three chapters (I have not quite four written so far), but figuring out where the rest of the story is going, including high points and black moments and the oh-so-important climax, and coming up with a one-sentence summary (the “pitch line”), the theme, stakes, scriptural basis, etc. etc. etc.
I whined a lot, but I managed it. And in the process, I have a better grip on the story itself, and might actually be a little less irritated at the characters.
So what is this story? Here’s my pitch line ...
How can she tell if God is calling her to stay ... or if she’s simply afraid to really live?
Oh, and if I haven’t mentioned this so far, my heroine is the granddaughter of Micah and Truth, from Defending Truth.
More later. :-)

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