Building Bridges

Early last week I was thrilled to be back at work on my novel. The thrill lasted a day and a half. Then I hit a wall. Or to be more exact, I came upon a chasm.

I knew what was going to happen a few scenes down the road, but I reached the end of the chapter I had been working on and realized I didn’t have a clue about what occurred in between here and there.

No, it wasn’t writer’s block. I’ve had that. It last for 26 years. Or maybe 27. I don’t ever plan on having that again. No, this was simply a matter of losing my way. At one point I knew where the plot was going, but then I was forced to step out of that world for a number of weeks dealing with my dad’s failing health and funeral and I forgot what I was doing. Actually, I forgot a lot of things at that time…where I put my charge card for one. I also lost an heirloom ring and two sets of keys (all of it found eventually, but not without a fair amount of panic).

I needed to build a plot bridge to span the end of Chapter Fifteen and reach that point where I knew once again what was happening. I went back to my outline and stewed over that for a day or two. Then I went shopping with my mom.

Halfway to town, I pounded my fist on the steering wheel, giving my mom a start (sorry, Mom). “I’ve got it!” I said. I knew what happened next.

“What?” asked my mom. After I explained, she asked, “It just comes to you?”

Yeah. Sometimes. If I’m very lucky.

Today is my first chance to write since then, but I have sticky notes and index cards scattered all over my desk with notes and revelations about Chapter Sixteen. It was all stuff I knew on some level, but had forgotten. Lost and found, like my ring, keys and charge card.

I do know that writing is so much easier when I do it every day. Or at least Monday through Friday. (Saturday and Sunday are for family and refilling the well…and catching up on all that didn’t get done Monday through Friday.) That way I can keep track of my thoughts by staying immersed in the world of my novel. Even when things were rough and I only wrote an hour a day, I kept on target.

So as you are reading this, I’m probably working on building my bridge with the materials I had all along. I just had to find them somewhere in the clutter of my mind.


Joyce said…
I've had that happen to me, too, including the "I got it" moment. I guess most writers do at some point.

Right now, I'm tossing around the idea of changing my villain. The person who I planned to be the villain in my outline doesn't want to be one now. I've changed pretty much everything else since the outline, so why not that? I could let that hold me up, but I'm not. I'm just going to keep on writing and see who it turns out to be. This book has surprised me more than once.

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