The Land of Stuckness

I’m once again visiting the land of stuckness, when I don’t know what happens next in my story. I’m working on Ilsabet’s hinge scene, and I don’t know how to answer two key questions about the scene:

  • What happens as a result of the scene?
  • How does the scene change things?

I have the questions posted on my desk, nagging me whenever I sit down in my office. I think the second question is the one I need to focus on, because I think the key is that it changes things internally. The scene is the second half of a single event. The first half was in Narthé’s POV, and I think dealt with the external change.

I keep thinking I have this solved, and then when I settle down to write it out, I discover I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m not one of those writers who writes to find out how the story turns out — I need to know where I’m going. The surprise for me comes in the details of the journey, not in discovering the destination.

I’m goal-oriented and a control freak; I wonder if my need to know where I’m going before I start writing comes out of that. Or is it that I can noodle pointlessly for hours, never getting anywhere near the place I need to be, wasting time, toner and paper?

I think it’s the latter, since I do let go of control when I’m up to my elbows in creation. Accidents happen all the time when I’m putting words down on paper — stuff falls out of my head onto the page that I didn’t expect, don’t understand, but won’t let go of. If  I were a complete control freak, I wouldn’t let that stuff happen, or I’d get rid of it when it did. But I don’t. I trust the magic, I trust my gut when it says, “No, leave it.”

I’m living in the land of stuckness because my gut is silent. I’m considering all kinds of ideas, waiting for my gut to say, “That one”, but nothing’s happening. There’s silence. I’ve tried writing my way out of stuckness, but I’m truly spinning my wheels when I do that, so I’ve stopped.

What’s different for Ilsabet at the end of the scene? That’s the question I need to answer. Once I know that, I’ll have traction again.

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