The Hitch

I was ready to dive in. I was.  All set, poised and about to jump.

Until I had the startling realization that the plot I’d created in my head was startling similar to the plot of another book.

I don’t know how I didn’t realize it sooner. While I was sitting there plotting and taking the time to write that plot out, you would think that it would have hit me. Considering the book in question is one I enjoy and have read several times. You would think I’d have made the connection. But I didn’t and so it was like a lightning bolt or a punch to the face or something shocking and/or illuminating. I didn’t see it before and then it was all I could see.

Now, yeah, I know. There’s only so many stories you can tell, and often times, there are points that are similar throughout books. It’s inevitable, in a way. It’s going to happen. But this goes beyond that. It wasn’t just one or two similarities. It was a whole host.

And so…I’m reworking and altering and changing. Have to. And even though it’s a bit frustrating and for a little bit I was very growly about it, at least I realized it BEFORE I started writing.

I still expect to get my head together and get this started. There’s been enough procrastinating. So I’m focusing on that. The characters are good as they are, the beginning can stay the same. It’s just all the other plot points that need to be changed.

I’m laughing about it now…in a way I wasn’t yesterday. And looking at it like it just might be the thing I need to get this thing jump started.

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Diving In

It’s funny how there comes a point in my brain, in my process, where everything just clicks and I’m ready to get on with the writing. I can’t even clearly say why it’s happened this time. A few friends have been nudging me, agreeing with the “just tell the story and don’t worry about the other stuff,” and that’s definitely helped. Kind of like I have…validation, perhaps. Not all stories require this level of internal debate. And I think I’ve finally narrowed down why, exactly, I’m dragging my feet on starting this new story.

The answer is really threefold.

The first is all me. I’m really enjoying listening to audiobooks and knitting right now. So my free time has been spent doing that, and I’m loving it. I find it relaxing and rewarding. And I haven’t been quite ready to cut into that time yet.

Second thing is that I read a lot. And reading is a vital part of my writing process. I’m not quite sure how I can explain it so that it makes sense to you, but for me, when I don’t read, my imagination lags, and I don’t feel as motivated to write. But of late…let’s just say that what I’ve read has been less than stellar. And there have been some that have been really good. But the lackluster showing has…dampened my enthusiasm some. I recently saw it described as refilling the well, and that resonated with me, as my well is nearly empty.

And then there’s just me, my personality. I worry incessantly about ridiculous things. It’s just who I am. I fret. I second guess. I overthink and over analyze.

But good news is, I’ve gotten over the hump. With the kind nudging, I’ve gotten my head into a good place. And that’s the first, most important step toward getting this story on the page. That last thing? Well, there’s nothing to do about that except shove it aside for as long as I can. And the kind nudging and the validation certainly helps keep that at bay.  Now that’s accomplished, I can deal with the other two things. The first is easy enough: I work really well on a reward system. An “if I do X then I can do Y” kind of thing. Using the knitting and audiobooks as a reward if I write a certain number of words or for a certain length of time means I can have both. The second is actually easy to handle as well: go back to some old favorites. Read something I haven’t in a while that I love, and that will help to fill the well.

With those three things handled, I can finally dive in. I’m on the edge of the spring board, and I’m read to jump. I just have to get the right kind of bounce going. Watch the word meter over the coming week, I expect it to go up by thousands.

The Moment When

…You’re certain that the story you’re about to tell is garbage.

It happens to me a lot.

Okay, wait, that sounds weird. So let me try to explain.

I’m sure I’m not the only one it happens to. Actually, I know I’m not. But I get this feeling, deep down in my gut, and I just know, with utter certainty, that the story I’m about to write is bad. It’s all very, “What was I thinking? I can’t write this story. It’s stupid and pointless and no one is going to want to read it. I need to scrap it, throw it away, and think of a new idea. A better idea.” It happens to me every time I come up with a new plot, when I get to the point of getting ready to actually write it. I spend time waffling about, trying to convince myself that it’s a story worth telling. And I give my computer the side eye, not wanting to go near it, though I feel it’s siren call. Because that way lies heartache and I don’t want heartache.

(not to muddy thing up, but I also get this feeling about about the three-quarters point while actually writing the story. I know all the time spent was a waste and it’s a crap story and I should abandon it and think of something news)

But see, the characters, they call to me. They keep popping up in my brain and I keep seeing scenes from their lives. I keep seeing this story played out in all those times during the day when my brain scampers off to play with imaginary characters.

So I know this is the story to tell next, I know these are the characters to tell it. Logic brain tells me that. But Lizard Brain, the one that’s full of fear, keeps pulling me back.

Lizard brain won’t win in the end. I have the plot mostly mapped, and I know where I want to go with it. I know that’ll change when I actually start writing, but I’ve got my jumping off point. I’ve got two guys who have already begun to worm their way under my skin. There are times when I don’t know whether I like Seth or Gabriel more.  They both have endearing points, and things about them I adore. I like “watching” them together. (See how I just dropped the second MC’s name in there?)

I gotta get through some stuff over the next week or so. Obligations I need to fulfill and another yarn project I want to finish. But I’m making tentative plans to do a sequesterish Saturday, to get that jump start on the writing. Because I need to just shove this moment out the window. And start telling the story.

Flash Fic Friday

I didn’t like practical jokes. I very rarely thought they were funny. To me, they felt mean. I knew I was in the minority, but I didn’t like to laugh at others. I didn’t like it when people made fake announcements that were supposed to be happy or shocking, and then take it all back. I found it hurtful more often than not. It made me uncomfortable.

So this day, April 1st, was one I dreaded with everything in me. I steered clear of social media. I didn’t watch TV because even self-respecting news programs got into the horrid “holiday.” I even took the day off of work, just so I could hide at home. Instead I immersed myself in a good book and ignored the world all day.

So when my phone started blowing up with text messages and Twitter and Facebook notifications, all congratulating me on my engagement, I was shocked. At first. And then I started to get wary and confused. And the more messages that came in, the more confused I got. Until it started to boil over into anger.

It didn’t take long to figure out what happened. As message after message popped up, I cautiously scrolled through my notifications until I came to the one that started it all. A tweet of a message cross posted from my boyfriend’s Facebook page. “Luke and Michael happily announce: WE’RE GETTING MARRIED!!!” with me tagged at the end and several little heart emojis.

I gasped, then choked, and then nearly threw up. How dare he do something like this? He knew how much I despised this sort of thing on this day! We weren’t some sort of April Fools joke. How could he treat us like one? My heart hurt even as my anger burbled over into rage, and I called him even knowing he’d be in the middle of his work day.

“Hey baby,” he answered on the second ring, his voice low and smooth and full of love and affection. Usually, that voice had me grinning and melting, but not today.

“How could you?!” I ground out, my temper taking over. I shoved a hand into my hair and pull at the strands. “How could you do this to me? To us? You know how I feel about this!”

“Whoa whoa whoa,” he soothed, and I heard him stand up from his desk, the rattle and bang of his chair familiar. “What are you talking about? Michael, what happened?”

“You!” I all but shouted. “With that fake announcement on your Facebook wall! What kind of shit is that?”

“What do you mean?” I heard the genuine confusion in his tone. “Was I not supposed to announce it yet? I didn’t think that would be a problem.”

I was brought up short. Then I squinted my eyes, even though he wasn’t here to see. I needed to make sure we were on the same page. “Luke, what are you talking about?”

“Last night, I asked you to marry me and you said yes. So today I posted it. I didn’t give any details. I was just so happy I couldn’t contain it and I wanted the world to know.”

“When did I ever…” I trailed off as the memory resurfaced. Of us naked and sweaty and his cum and lube drying on my skin. Of the love that filled his eyes as he pulled me in close and he said he loved me more than anything and we should get married. And me agreeing, sated and happy, snuggling in closer, content in a way only he made me feel. I groaned, and slumped back on the couch. My voice was a mere whisper when I spoke, “I thought we were just, you know, starting to talk about it. I didn’t realize it was a proposal.”

Dead silence from his end. I swallowed hard, suddenly scared I’d hurt him. I opened my mouth, ready to call his name, but he spoke first.

“Do you want to marry me?”

And I got what he was asking. He wanted to know if it was something I even wanted, if I was ready. And the truth was, I was very ready. We’d been dating for two years, exclusive and in each other’s back pockets for nearly that whole time. He got me like no one else, and even though he’d yet to reach a quarter of a century and I was past three decades, I loved the holy hell out of him. I wanted him by my side forever.

“Yes,” I said, firmly and full of conviction. “Very much so.”

His sigh of relief was loud. “Okay, well. Awesome. Good. We’re getting married. And I told the world already. So we’re good.”

I grinned, because I loved him. “On April Fools day,” I groused, only half meaning it.

He gave a low chuckle. “Yeah, I didn’t even think of it being the first. Oh well. Anyone who knows us will know that we meant it, no matter what day we announced it.”

And the truth was, he was absolutely right.