Chapter Two: Slugging it Out

I refuse to be stumped. Okay, that’s not true. I refuse to accept a prolonged state of stumpedness.

After I rewrote the first chapter, I got about halfway into the second chapter and was not at all satisfied with the interaction of my main characters. I mean, the characters as individuals were interesting, but they weren’t interacting in interesting enough ways with each other. Part of the problem is the scene that was stumping me was centered around a conversation in a bar — not inherently engaging. I pondered this for several days, trying several different tactics. I began to fear that I was going to have to re-arrange major parts of the plot and characters. (And hey, that might still happen.)

But eventually, I took a big sheet of butcher paper and taped it to the inside of a closet door. And I went to brainstorming. I was thinking that I needed to write standing up to solve the problem. I needed to see it on a big white space and feel free to sketch ideas wherever they occurred to me in a sort of spatial thinking space. I was right. I solved several problems with the scene, made a few of the characters much more interesting and seeded future interesting sub-plots. It was incredibly refreshing.

Wherefore Author Go Thou?

I have the plot, almost intricately so. I have the 15+ characters. I find myself looking for the why. Why am I writing this? Why would someone care? And perhaps, how will this be different than what’s gone before? And finally, are any of these questions I should be bothering with?

My instinct is to answer the last of those questions in the affirmative. Not that you can’t write a valid work without worrying about those questions. But I’m not sure I, personally, am the kind of person to do that.

I feel really positive about what I have so far, but I feel I need to throw a monumental monkey wrench in there, and my conscious mind still has no idea what that is. “What if the villain is really the hero?” “What if the main character turns out be an artificial intelligence, and we learn this near the end of the story?” That sort of thing.

When I first started wondering about these questions, I took a look at the protagonist. But he revealed nothing. I know who he is, and he seems to have depth. But he doesn’t seem to demand any more story.

Back to staring out the window.

Words are messy, but they’re the only ones we’ve got.