I was never one to outline. Whenever I attempted to write a novel, I just started writing. Most times, I do a character biography but I never sit down and outline the story. I have a fantasy that the words, the story, the twists and the turns will just come to me as I type.
So far, that hasn’t really worked.
I usually start researching things along the way. Could it really happen this way? Did people talk like that in 1986? What was going on in that town in the 80’s. What was the job market like? How would an arrest and questioning really go? What would child protective services do in the late 80’s in a situation like this one?
I love to research. I am the google queen. This is not up for debate.
The problem is that the research would send me off on these tangents and I would never return to my original intent – finishing the story.
Recently, I did manage to outline the story I’m working on. I know where it’s supposed to go and what I intend to happen. This has been so helpful to me because now when I get lost on a research binge (of course, I still do it) I can pick the story back up and keep on trudging.
I’m a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl. I move according to my feelings. When your head is in the clouds (like mine often lives), it’s helpful to have a road map when I’m on land.
In my office at work, most people who sit near me look out of the huge windows and watch the always-heavy trafffic on I-90/Kennedy. Today though every one had taken an interest in a certain Mother Goose and her brand new goslings.
The Momma had chosen one of the planter boxes to have her babies. One of the babies ended up going over the edge and landing on the roof. So began the day’s drama.
We all watched as the prodigal gosling walked around and around the planter box. Momma Goose walked around and around inside the box seeming to search for and we imagined to call out for her missing baby.
Eventually, she jumped down and walked next to her baby. Then she would go back up to the others. And so it went. Over and over again. At various times throughout the day, people came and went to look over and check on Momma Goose and her goslings.
At one point, I was away from my desk and I heard a loud and collective gasp and headed back to find that there were now two goslings out of the box!
In the next hour, the remaining two dropped over the edge and made it to the family. When the last gosling made his several attempts, we all cheered him on and everyone was happy once the family was united.
It never ceases to amaze me the way that we bond with animals. Today, I witnessed a hodge podge of co-workers care and cheer for Mother Goose and her goslings. It felt a little spiritual to me. Like I was watching something divine.
Then I came home to find that another young life was taken in my hometown in Michigan and that a young, honor-roll student was shot and killed in Texas today and I thought about the mothers of those two.
Im sitting in the bed now, typing this, and wondering who is caring and cheering for those mothers.
So last night, I dreamt a whole novel. Each scene played out vividly. Ask me if I wrote it down?
So here I am at work trying to go through my dream and write down what I can. It was a good story. I use to do that with poems during my most prolific writing period. I could be driving from work and a whole poem would sprout in my head. By the time that I got to my destination, I would have worked out all of the kinks.
Admittedly, that prolific writing period was a long time ago. But thanks to school and Nanowrimo, I feel like whatever was there is still there. If that makes sense.
As for Nanowrimo, I got in almost 9,000 words. Way short of 50,000. Now, that doesn’t count all of the papers and stories that I wrote in my two classes. I was very distracted in the month of November. It was my first time trying Nanowrimo (I’m committed to trying again next year) and I’m proud of myself for trying. I don’t even want to continue what I wrote for it, but I do plan to keep the characters, research, and story arc. I want to do something with it.
I have learned to keep writing. When I was in boot camp in the Navy, I had to jump off of a diving board. I had never done it before and I was scared. Beyond scared. But I didn’t want to go home. So I jumped. I kept telling myself that I could do it. And the whole time that I floated/swam I kept telling myself that I could do it.
I’m going to use that to push myself and continue on toward my goal of finishing my novel by the end of 2017.
I can do it.
I can do it.
I can do it.