So last week — oh, dear, was it really already that long ago? — I was asked if I wanted to participate in a boxed set of short stories or novellas, to be titled, “Magical Weddings.” As soon as I saw the title, ideas started flowing.
By yesterday, I was totally stalled again. I had a character. I had a setting. I had some isolated incidents. But I had nothing that came anywhere close to a plot or that even felt like a story I’d like to live in a for a while. I’d written about 1000 words that had gotten eaten in a computer incident, which of course made me feel tragic, like I’d written the best thing ever and now it was gone, gone, GONE. Lost words always seem like they were much better than they probably were.
So I tried to go back to A Gift of Grace for a while and got nowhere with that, then started thinking about Fen again and wishing I could be in her voice for a while, then remembered my Akira honeymoon novella and wondered if I could tweak it to include the wedding, then got really annoyed with myself. I have got to start actually finishing things. Four works in progress, six if you count the two that are totally unrelated to anything I’ve written before, seven if you count the Maggie short story that is ostensibly done but somehow not satisfying to me… I’m committing the grave mistake of the novice writer, not finishing what I start. That has to end.
Plus, now I’ve made a promise and it has a deadline attached, so I actually have to write the wedding story. I can’t just ignore it as the time trickles away. This morning, therefore, I decided to meditate. I wasn’t going to think about the story, I was going to clear my mind, sending well wishes to a sick friend of a friend. This is the only kind of meditation I can ever manage to do for more than a few minutes. Every time your mind wanders, you bring it back to the person you’re wishing well for, and send them wishes — May you be well, may you be healthy, may you be happy, may you have good doctors, etc. I think it works for me because the freedom of being able to create the wishes gives my mind a little room to roam, which is probably why it’s not really meditation. Ahem, but I digress.
Anyway, while I’m “meditating,” my mind wanders, of course. I pull it back, again and again, but every time it drifts back to the story, it’s clearer to me that my problem is my narrator. I want the story to be her love story, but her perspective is much too limited. There are other things that I want the reader to see that just can’t be seen from the inside of her head. In fact, the magic of the story is that the magic is unseen by the main character. She can only be vaguely aware of any of it. But the reader should get to see the magic. The reader should understand what’s happening under the surface.
Okay, so maybe I should write in an omniscient POV? But I never have and it’s a weird POV these days and ideally, some of the people reading this story won’t know how I write already so I don’t want to mislead them about my style.
Back to meditating. May K be well. May she be healthy. May the drugs be quickly effective. May she … maybe I should pull a Nora Roberts and jump from viewpoint to viewpoint? She gets away with it and it works for her. I could do the transitions smoothly, I think. I can even see how that would work — except this is a short story, maybe a novella, and the more POV characters I write, the longer it needs to be. Those transitions have to give enough context to work, to really reveal the mind of the person you’re in, which means establishing a lot of characters. Not just the two main romantic characters, but Akira, maybe Zane, maybe others. Sigh.
Back to meditating. May K be strong. May her immune system work with her. May her nurses be kind and careful. I need a God-character, all-seeing, all-knowing… oh.
I’m tossing everything I’ve already written and starting over today. With Rose as the narrator. Yay!