The Dreaded Plot Crash

I’m past my targeted halfway point in Zorya, at almost 45,000 words, and the thing happened that I worry about most when I’m writing. I discovered that I have a critical plot point that manages to negate a big chunk of the rest of the plot.

It’s not the first time it’s happened, not even the first time for this book, but I hate it. First I have to work out some kind of solution that doesn’t sound stupid, or demand an entire flotilla of gods descending in machines. Then I have to alter and rework text all through the manuscript to make sure it’s in line with the solution. You know what that’s like?

My wife has a bunch of necklaces hanging in a necklace cabinet. Often several of them on one wooden peg (no room otherwise). Sometimes when you take one off they snag, and all come off together and fall in a shiny tangled knot of very fine and near-identical chains. I have to sit there with something pointy like a pin and carefully tweak each loop free, tugging gently to avoid tightening the knot, often passing one loop through another multiple times, until all the chains are finally separated. It takes a long time.

It’s like that.

“Line, please.”

Gah. Bogged down in an important dialogue scene again.

It’s weird how you can be in the shower, or walking down to the mailbox, or rinsing dishes, and all of a sudden an entire sequence comes into your head. Your characters move through the scene, talking, shouting, and thinking. All you need to do is stand back and watch, and hope to God you don’t forget any of it. It’s why writers need to carry notebooks.

Other times–and this of course is when you’re sitting at the keyboard ready to roll–nothing comes. Your characters are standing there on their marks, giving you dirty looks, waiting for you to come up with something for them to do. I have one who starts tapping his feet. Another pulls out her phone and starts checking Facebook. They mutter to each other. It might be great dialogue, but I can’t hear it from over here.

So I flee into my blog, and write a post…

What’s the opposite of “writer’s block?”

Dozens of scenes buzzing in my head, scattered all over the manuscript, and instead of being paralyzed by a blank page, I’m paralyzed by not knowing where to start first.  It’s like being in a room where everyone is trying to talk to you at once.

I guess I put my hands over my ears,*  pick a scene, and run with it.  Shove the other scenes away for the moment, no matter how loud they clamor.

* Metaphorically, of course.  It’s hard to type with your feet.

(Cross-posted to Litopia)