Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Lightbulb moment

I don't know anything about brain science, and if I tried to learn, my eyes would probably glaze over. Which is not to say I don't respect the hell out of how our brains work, and I think some of it will never be figured out by science, no matter how hard they try. 

I'm working on the second book in my 1930 series, and it's been going well. The plot line involving Ava, my primary main character, is basically complete, even if I haven't written all of it. For Claire, the secondary main character, I can't say the same. I know how she starts and I know where she ends. But until recently, I had no idea how to bridge that gap. 

The other day, I forgot to have my morning coffee. Then I forgot to have it in the afternoon, and by the time I made a pot for after dinner, I knew it would either have no effect or it would keep me up all night. I was good with either. 

It seemed like it wasn't going to work. I went to bed at midnight, my normal time, got into bed, closed my eyes, and the answer to all those plot questions slammed into the front of my head with the force of a speeding car. I got a full explanation of what goes wrong, who's involved, who's behind it, the reactions of the key characters, and how it leads to the ending I already had in mind. 

None of this had (knowingly) existed in my brain up until that point. 

I didn't want to get up. I laid there for a good half hour, telling myself the story, repeating the best phrases, hoping I would remember it come morning. And then I remembered - I never remember that stuff come morning. So I got up, went downstairs and turned on the lights, and wrote eight pages of notes.

Then, of course, I was too wide awake to go back to sleep, but it was nearly two. So I flopped on the loveseat downstairs, and turned on an author interview podcast whose host has a very soothing voice. When I'm up and walking, I enjoy the interviews. When I can't sleep, she takes me out in minutes. 
And it worked. I slept until five, when the birds started to sing. Then I went back to bed for two more hours. When I got up, I was afraid to look at my notes, for fear they weren't as brilliant as I thought, but they were good. Not brilliant, maybe, but solidly plotted, and now that I know what's coming I have no qualms about writing this midsection of the book.

Writing isn't the problem. Filling in those occasional blanks is the problem.

And if someone can explain how my brain can deliver a fully plotted section of story out of the blue, complete with dialogue, I'd really appreciate it.

Also, could it maybe choose a more convenient time of day?

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