Walking Through Jello

Act One is drafted. Outlined. Scribbled. It has gone from random wisps of electrical pulses in my brain goo to lines and dots and marks on my computer (and in the cloud —  I’m not crazy enough not to back up).

It’s terrible, but the great news is that I know why it’s terrible, which means there is a chance to make it less so with each subsequent pass.

There are things to work on, notably voice (I need to land firmly in either the “bleak humor” zone or the “broad humor” zone while still sucking air from the satire environment), making a final decision on point of view, deeper dives into character motivations, plugging up the major plot holes, plugging up minor plot holes, and utterly obliterating the boring parts.

Then, Spell Check.

This is a process that rips open everything I believe about myself as a writer and a person. It is an act of faith to put one word after another, and it feels like strange territory like I’m walking through Jello. I know how to walk, and I have more than a passing familiarity with Jello, but the two together are strange and yet I insist on navigating through it, no matter how sticky it gets.

Doncha just want to stick your toes in?

Many surprises as I remain curious and flexible with the story itself. A few surprises about my own process, namely that I’m finally back to my pre-children state of writing with a greater sense of ease (or lesser sense of concern) at night, but that I cannot sustain the writing as well as I can in the morning. So I do the deeper, less funny dives in the morning and write zany at night. Normal, right?


It’s wordy. I’m wordy. That’s nerves and the delete key will be invited to the party in a few weeks.

Act Two is where the story simultaneously takes off and burrows down. The mistakes/problems I had in Act One will both probably resolve themselves and also create entirely new ones, and I will continue to write myself little notes in my “things to do when revising” list, which is now about 40,000 pages.

I’m also trying to write other shorter pieces for a couple of deadlines that matter so much to me. I am grateful that my kids are in school (*knocks wood*) this week and while I’m happy that they are off for an entire week for Thanksgiving, that will mean I need to do some creative scheduling as well: shorter bursts at odd times, most likely.

I will not be dedicating this or any other book to the damned skeet shooting that starts at 10am on Saturday only to be replaced by the damned leaf blowing that starts promptly at 8am on Monday.

I wrote 12,291 words last week. After I raise ’em right, I hope they bring people joy.


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