Thursday, July 15, 2010

Post-plotting Slump

Last week, I finished plotting my next novel. I now know, in a vague, overarcing way, exactly what's going to happen. I have a pretty good idea who my main character is (though not a name, and not an age...but I'll get to that tomorrow). I know who her main friends are, and who her main enemies are, including those who walk the line between being a friend and an enemy. I know the lessons she'll learn. I know her internal conflict and her external one. I know that I would dearly love to see novel on the bookshelves of bookstores everywhere and then to film, as I dream for ever novel before it's even written. Best yet, I know that it is a novel. It's something that will flesh out to be sellable. Always a HUGE plus.

I'd forgotten a part of the process, though. I'd forgotten the post-plotting slump. For weeks, thoughts of this novel have nipped at my heels, kept me awake and night, and generally made a nuisance of themselves, forcing me again and again to the Ultimate Storyboard in my hall to jot down a few more notes. It kept me up one night, flashlight in hand (Cody was sleeping in the bed just off the hall, so I didn't want lights blazing), writing until my hand was cramped and my cats had long since returned to slumber.

Then it was complete. All the points of a hero's journey were there. I was at a good stopping point—I don't plan on writing this novel for another three and a half months, so I don't want to start full character building for a while, because I know doing something like that will only make me need to write the novel right away. So I stopped. I didn't look at the Ultimate Storyboard for a whole day (which is hard to do when it takes up my entire hallway).

I was enjoying the satisfied glow of a novel ready to be written when I was blindsided by a crashing lull in my creative energy. I couldn't think of a thing to blog about. The other book that I'm supposed to be working on didn't seem that urgent. I coasted, content and happy with my progress, happy with my muse.

Like always, this lull, this creative lethargy, took me by surprise. After being so driven during the creative process, I suddenly didn't have an overwhelming need to write anything down. It took me a week to realize what had happened, that I was no longer being chauffeured by my muse and that it was time to slide back behind the wheel and start driving myself again. I'm here, present again behind the wheel, showing up once more for my daily writing time, but very much looking forward to when I get to write this new novel and be chauffeured along once more by the newness of it.

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