I am not epic.

At the risk of sounding like a snark (which I am, so I guess that's fair), this rampant use of the word epic is starting to grate. 

Probably I've just spent too much time on the Internet. If you keep clicking all the links of here is how to become amazing at writing ... well, you hear a lot of advice about being epic.

Make it epic. Write at an epic level. It needs to be epic.

And I kept nodding while reading this, yes, yes, yes, I want to write something EPIC. But today I snapped or maybe just got tired. 

I know we need an all-purpose word to capture amazing/rad/fantastic/awesome, and since it's all purpose, we go through it really fast. Use it a bunch, wear it out, toss it, and find a new one. The word life cycle: I am familiar with you.

But all this hype about becoming epic, becoming legendary... it's a little wearing? 

So I want to bellow back at these articles, something like, I sing of the rage of Achilles!! And then I'll blabber about gods and monsters and heroes, about metamorphoses and ill-fated love stories, and then I'll make up a joke about a satyr.

Pfft. Satyrs. 

All this to say, at the moment I am profoundly ordinary. 

The draft (at 39,600 words) isn't quite at the slog stage, but ... slog threatens. The mad dash through the opening chapters has turned into more of a trudge. It's just plain old hard work, that's all, unraveling that skein of story every day, hoping I don't find a knot, a snarl, a fray, a break. 

Okay. Here's the honest truth. I have no idea what happens next. 

I've hassled my poor cast of characters through a fair series of early obstacles, and it's time for them to catch their breath--just long enough to hear how the stakes are higher than they knew, their enemy stronger, and their time to act shorter. 

And then I'll catapult them into . . .

Into . . . 


The unepic writer scratches her head, wanders around her house, thinks about the laundry, and eats an apple. Thinks about those villains, and tries to chew more menacingly. 

I know there will be a mystery person in the next chapter or two. And I know there will be something of a prison break at the midpoint of the story. 

Prison break? I'm going to write about a prison break. Never mind that I wouldn't be able to break my own self out of a locked closet if I needed to.

Oh, and the climax of the whole story? Yeah. Complete mystery to me. Ditto the ending.

I am trying to remember that I knew this was coming. The wide blank howling fields of I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm remembering that my job is to just show up. To lighten my grip.

So I'm not hyperventilating. I'm just a little edgy. And anyone who screeches GO BE EPIC is asking for a cool reply involving centaurs.

The one good thing? Even though I've no clue what happens next in my story, my imagination is still firing on all cylinders. I keep seeing things that aren't actually there.

The lynx slinking across the street. A picture of buildings turned into a boy alone at a train station, a wall of raincoats behind him. I keep seeing shadowy shapes walking past my window. Little things flitting past at the edges of sight. I hear phantom footsteps all through the house.

If I wasn't actively drafting, this kind of thing would make me dial an emergency number or two. But for now, it means that my writerly brain is still churning up images, tossing out ideas, sparking new scenarios. Twisting what it sees into something intriguing.

So I'll show up. And I'll keep going. 

And write my way forward, one ordinary word at a time.