Writing fiction has its surreal moments. No surprise, right? After all, I'm immersing myself in an alternate reality. If I'm doing my job right, it should leak out and get tangled up in real things.
Today I worked up a nine-page section where my eleven-year-old protagonist is facing the (really really really mean) antagonist. And I have to write both of them. As realistically as I can.
So on the one hand, I'm pulling up as many memories of being scared out of my brain cells as I can remember... What does it feel like, to be paralyzed with panic, but trying to brazen your way out of it anyway? What's it like to be small, and realize that the world is bigger and worser (yes, worser) than you knew?
And then, I switch sides, and create the most menacing, monstrous, cruel, and unpredictable character I can muster up today. So: it worked. He's awful.
On my writing break, I ran to look at myself in the mirror: checking my face for scales or wicked yellow eyes or... I don't know. VILLAIN TEETH. Because who walks around in society with this kind of thing chuckling away in her head?
The scene itself worked well enough for a first draft. But now I'm a bag of emotions. I have well and completely freaked out my inner eleven-year-old. I want to break into my story and go apologize to everyone. I'm all jittery and anxious.
I can't tell if I need a gin & tonic or a teddy bear.
Meanwhile, in real life, the business side of my brain has been tallying up my word count each day, looking at where I'm at on my "outline" (can I call it an outline if it's basically blank?), and where I'm hoping to end up.
The good news is that I've cranked out 27,101 words in 12 days, which is none too shabby. That translates to over 72 typed pages, or 106 by hand. (Because I write it first by hand. All part of my plan to burn out my wrists and fingers before I'm 35. Stay tuned on that.)
72 pages! That's some heft. Send up balloons! Sing songs!
Okay, but the bad news is, that's 12 days out of a scheduled 30, and I'm, um, a fifth the way through my outline. (You can laugh. It really is funny.)
Do I change the schedule and double my time, or amp up my daily totals, or both, or just let it play out, or ....
Okay. I decided. I want the gin & tonic AND the teddy bear.
And if that all doesn't have me uncertain enough, I'm dreaming up a bunch of big, exciting projects to shape the future of this blog. I hope it will be awesome, I hope it will be fun to follow along. I hope you really like it.
I also hope I don't pass out from sheer nervousness.
So I made this sign. And I'm gonna plaster it to my forehead.
Or, at least, put it above my desk.
I need it. My main character needs it. And I thought, heck. Maybe you'd want to see it too.
It's more than just a nice idea. I've heard over and over again: if you fake fearlessness, you eventually end up ... fearless.
Which sounds like a good direction to go.
And that's what I'm going to be doing around here.
You too? High five. Let's do it together.
Let's go be brave.