Friday, January 27, 2012

Getting Unstuck

I can tell there is something different going on because I'm knitting instead of crocheting. Even though I can't wait to start on the eight crochet mystery, I had to set aside all my notes and start on the first book in my new series which features Casey Feldstein, a dessert chef who has inherited a business putting on yarncraft retreat at a slightly sinister conference center on the Monterey peninsula. The first book which I think is going to be called Yarn2Go involves knitting. So to get in the mood, I've become a needle head as Adele from the crochet mysteries would probably say.

I thought it would be a breeze to make the tranisition from writing one series to writing the other. Not exactly. I have the first three chapters and the synopsis done. I know who all the characters are and who the victim is and who killed her and why. But it was all the other stuff I wasn't sure about and I discovered my synopsis wasn't as complete a road map as I'd remembered it as being.

My usual choice for starting out is to handwrite on yellow legal pads in the morning. Even with all I have already written and what I know, I found myself with my pen hanging over the page instead of writing on it.

When all else failed, I started writing about how I felt. That I was stuck. That I was panicking because I was stuck. Waht was I going to do if I couldn't write the book. I often put notes like that inside my rough draft. Somehow writing anything helps and it's always funny to read over when I'm rewriting because by then I've gotten past the stuckness.

The one thing I didn't do was give up. I knew that if I kept sitting there with my pen on the yellow pad eventually I'd start to see what my characters were doing and hear their voices so I could write it all down.

It took a few days and a bit of anguish, but suddenly I heard Casey on the phone talking to her boss from when she did temp work at the detective agency. And my pen began to race across the page as ideas about what was going to happen next fluttered through my mind.

The thing about writing is that it isn't like filing or washing dishes or selling toys. You can't grit your teeth and just say you're going to do it. Or at least, I can't. The best I can do is sit there with my pen over the page and wait for the magic to start.


Linda O. Johnston said...

Congrats on the new series, Betty. I'm sure your muse will keep elbowing your subconscious, and your writing will take off!

Betty Hechtman said...

Thanks, Linda. I hope you are right.

Planner said...

May the flutterings continue and the racing pen fly!

Betty Hechtman said...

Thanks for the good wishes, Planner. So far, so good.