Having a Moment

After posting yesterday, writer’s block set it. Some wit said that writer’s block happens when writers have nothing to say and the sad thing is, it doesn’t happen to them more often. Mine wasn’t based on having nothing to say; mine was based on grief and fear. As I studied the beta reader’s comments, there was a little bit of grief in losing the simple story I had. I knew that, for the most part, he was on target with his comments. I have heard him critique shorter pieces and that was why I was excited when he agreed to be a beta reader for me. Still, there was a sense of grief as I realized that all those plot holes and inconsistencies that I had learned to love had to go. I believe that what will rise from the ashes will be a much better story, but it will require a lot more work than a few small touch ups. And that’s where the fear came in.

I realized I needed to do a lot of foundation work before I went back to rewriting. I had to understand my characters in depth, including my living villain. I had to change the motivation for my villain while, at the same time, make his good character qualities stronger. I had to have a better explanation for the break in the family relationships of my main character. I needed to understand my world and place it in proper context on its planet – especially for future novels. I needed to understand my nameless, faceless villain and find ways to weave the background of that agency into the story so that tales of the current nature will make sense. I even realized that the changes I made for this book, would affect the other books – especially since the original title no longer made sense in light of the ideas I had for changing things.

So, I had a moment yesterday. I opened up the file for this book and stared at the character page for my male main character. I couldn’t even put down the height. I went away and looked at something else. I don’t know how many times I went to that page, and clicked away from it because of the fear of doing this right. I couldn’t work on some other writing that I had to do either. One of them is a writing challenge for 400 words a day. Later in the evening I finally passed 400 words, but not by much. So yesterday I had a moment. Today, I have hope. Today, I will begin reworking my characters and falling so much in love with them again that I want to be sure and tell their story – different as it may be. Today, I begin the process of falling in love with my better, more complex story as I progress towards becoming an author.

Just Not Right – #WOW555

So, let’s be honest. Sometimes we write and nothing works out. Ideas don’t flow. We’re trying to meet a deadline. You know what I mean. That’s what happened to me this week. The prompt was “For this week, your story should incorporate the concept of spirit in some way. (See what I did there :) ).” I liked that. I couldn’t find a good story, but since I like this contest, I tried anyway. Things just didn’t work out. That being said, here’s my entry:

He was feeling flush. The money was burning a hole in his pocket. He was ready to head out and spend it. “C’mon, Fred!” he yelled. “Let’s go.”

Fred shouted back, “It’s too early. You dragged me into this, so at least follow the plan!”

He glare back at Fred.”That was the old plan,” he said. “We have a new one now.”

“We?” Fred’s raised eyebrows showed his disdain. “Any plan that involves heading outside and spending the cash now is worse than the old one of stealing it in the first place. And why did you rope me in anyway?”

“Just doing you a favor, man,” he said. “I gotta way to make it right.”

“You stuck up the St. Peter’s church bingo parlor and you have a way to make it right?” Fred asked – the disbelief dripping from his words.

“Sure, we go to St. Paul’s and drop a couple of hundred in their offering box. It’ll be cool.”

Fred looked at him, aghast. “Tell me you didn’t say that!” He was yelling now. “Hey God, bless this money we stole from St. Peter’s because we gave part of it to St. Paul’s. Do you really think God will give you a pass because you gave back some of the money you stole from His church?”

He nodded his head and smiled. “Pretty neat, right? The Bible talks about giving ten percent of your increase. I give ten percent and I’m good.” He started out the door. “You coming or not?”

Fred decided to follow him. “I’m coming. I’ve never actually seen lightning strike a person before.” He threw on a coat and followed him out the door. “You’re messing with God man. That is just so not cool.”

He laughed in my face. “And you’re not? You helped me.”

Fred toned down his voice now that they were in public, but he could still feel the rage. “You tricked me into helping you. I’m not keeping any of the money. Don’t count me in.”

He nodded his head. “I see,” he said, “so if you aren’t with me, go talk to that cop right there.” He pointed at the cop heading towards us.

The cop saw him point and he approached the pair. “Anything wrong, gentlemen? Can I help you?”

Fred took a deep breath, and then he faltered. “Nothing wrong, officer. He was just a bit nervous,” Fred pointed at him, “and I was helping set his mind at ease. He was happy to see that you were around.”

The cop looked at him. He beat the cop to the punch. “First time in the big city, officer. I’ve heard too many stories.”

The officer laughed. “Have a good…”

I re-read what I had written. “This stinks!” I said to no one in particular. For some reason I just can’t get in the spirit of writing now!” I highlighted everything and pressed the delete button. I’d try again, just not now.

Interestingly enough, the word count was exactly 500. I also couldn’t find a good way to differentiate the story inside. Any suggestions on formatting?