That One Thing

Finally! After working on the manuscript build, typing in all those notes and starting to plan out the new, unwritten sections, I found something I’ve misplaced for months now. And I can’t even describe it. Sitting here, trying to think of the right metaphor and finding everything that my mind offers up to be utterly inadequate. Wait, hold on. Okay.

The stage may be utterly dark before the play begins but it is strangely alive at the edges of your senses. Even in the dark you can see the hint of color in the stage and props, get a sense of the shapes and places of the actors on stage as their whispers and nervous, last minute movements tease your ears. And then the spotlight, solitary and brilliant, lights up a point on the stage and the audience stills as you do and you focus on it, whatever it is, before the light softens and others come on, bringing the whole scene to life before your eyes. It all starts with that first spotlight — whether it’s a telephone off the hook or a crumpled bed, a polished skull in someone’s hand or a loaded gun on the mantle — that leads you into the rest of the scene, provides the doorway into the story.

I came close recently, writing a scene fragment that takes place ahead in the story after the funeral, but it wasn’t the next link in the narrative where I left off. And I’d sort have been dancing around it, nervous I guess that I’d feel like I’d not be able to reconnect to the story since it’s been so many months since I last made regular progress on the word count. But the spotlight came on when I was writing my notes for the build, that set piece, that posture, that look, and suddenly I’m back in the world of the story.

Lily’s sitting on a bench in the courtyard of the University, holding an umbrella and wearing sunglasses while it rains. She’s stalking someone, come to see their handiwork first hand, and she’s angry that her friend, her mentor, wouldn’t come.

So I wrote yesterday and today. Granted, today’s words were shit, but they at least got some of the ideas down. When I type them in tomorrow they will be better, and they will grow.

I think that tomorrow I’m going to split up the work, alternate between raw words and manuscript building. I’ll type in the new material on the current scene, get going and keep going as long as the words flow, then go back to the build and start plotting, and when I get stuck there pop back. Maybe if I weave it back and forth I can keep my monkey-brain satisfied and keep the distractions at bay.


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