In the middle of the night I woke up and instantly began thinking about my novel. At 65,000 plus words, I can begin working out the specifics of reaching the finish line. But at 2 a.m. I panicked a bit. Maybe the whole thing was crap and I’d wasted hours of my time working on it.
Figuratively, at this point in the novel my characters were in calm waters—way too calm to keep a reader’s interest. I tossed and turned for an hour or so trying to figure out how to get their ships under sail again before I finally got out of bed to take a couple of Tylenol PM. Eventually I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until 7:30.
Studly Doright was already at work in his office across the hall from our bedroom when I stumbled into the kitchen to start a kettle boiling for my morning tea. My mind had already begun gnawing on the issue of the literary doldrums again, but still no resolution was forthcoming.
Then, as the kettle whistled, I recalled a recent conversation I’d had with my friend, Flo, who also writes but is way more observant than I am. I’d shared with her a problem I was having getting my characters to move. She told me to think about what happens in a soap opera when there’s a lull in the action: there’s a knock on the door or the phone rings or a letter arrives in the mail. Yes!
The phone is ringing. The characters are reacting. The sails are full, and I have a bridge to the end. Hallelujah! Can I get an amen?