This blog is about the process of writing a novel. It says so, right up at the top of the page. And I'm writing a novel. Yup, I sure am. Sometimes when I write about writing, it's informative; sometimes it's neurotic; sometimes it's inspirational in intent; sometimes it's a little bit crazy; and sometimes it's just plain stuck.
Yes. I admit it: I'm stuck. I've been bashing my own motto to death and doing major character development as well as runaway research in the hopes of someday, maybe, unearthing a PLOT, but to not much avail.
Or, to no avail.
I'm still in Ancient Greece - Tibet, India, Australia, London, and New York are just gonna have to wait. Here's the set-up of the Greek plot thus far, in a little nutshell:
Boy loves god. God isn't into it. Boy convinces god to be into it. They begin a love affair.
I'm very happy with this so far. A reluctant god who has sworn off love affairs, plus a smitten and utterly determined (and mildly narcissistic) mortal, makes for good fun conflict.
So the mortal wins, and they get together.... And then what??
I know it's not going to work out (sorry, but it's not). First of all, Greek gods are about as capable of fidelity in love affairs as - as - well, crap, my metaphors are failing me, but let's just say THEY'RE NOT CAPABLE AT ALL. Second, as I've mentioned before, despite their own major failings in the monogamy department, Greek gods don't deal well with lovers who cheat on them. Third, neither one of these people is really emotionally capable of true intimacy.
This is all good, right? Lots of potential conflicts, right? I KNOW! I read that and I think, "so what's the problem?"
The problem is that I can't for the life of me figure out exactly how things get messed up, or why. Does Apollo cheat on his mortal? Does the mortal cheat on him? Why? And if so, with who, and then what? Does Artemis somehow get involved? She keeps popping up in my brainstorming, but won't tell me why. It's annoying.
I was expounding on this on Twitter today - ok, fine, I was complaining - and the wise and very smart L.G. Smith advised me to "Time to take something precious from them [my characters]. If they have nothing to fight against, they're too comfortable."
This tickled something in my head... but I'm not yet sure what it is. I think she's putting me on the right track. Maybe. I hope. Certainly a love affair wouldn't be comfortable for either one of them - in fact, my instinct is that it's the intimacy itself that takes something away from them, even though they both thought it was what they wanted. I just don't quite have it yet. You know - the thing that gets taken away, and what they do in response.
Is this a case of the thing a person wants the most is the thing that frightens them the most? Or a case of the thing a person wants the most is the worst thing for them?
I don't know yet.
I know. I know. I presented an irritating problem, complained about it for a while, and then neglected to resolve it. This is not what I would call satisfying writing.
And yet, it's precisely the kind of grind that constitutes 'daily work' for a writer. You bang your head against your desk; the banging jars loose a brilliant idea; you follow that idea only to find out it's bunk; you bang your head some more and pull your hair, and problem-solve out loud, and write lots and lots of brainstorming ideas that start with "what if" and end in question marks. Rinse, wash, repeat.
I'm not complaining - or, well, I'm complaining only a little. I love this work. I just love it more when I have solutions to my problems, rather than just large stubborn problems that sit on my desk and taunt me.
So, that's where I am today. Not much of a thrilling inside look, perhaps, but a true one. Thanks for sticking with me.
And suggestions, of course, are more than welcome.