So what has it been? Three months since I dedicated any real time to writing? Really longer than that because March and April were spent preparing Soul Lost for its Kindle debut. Truth is, whenever I actually turned my attention to Nick, the story I started for NaNoWriMo in November, I couldn’t make it happen. I couldn’t get a grip on the story or the last new character, Fred.
The problem of course was trying to “grip” it. A story doesn’t like to be told what do to any more than a child–or anyone else, for that matter–so like Leia says to Grand Moff Tarkin:
The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.
I had to loosen my grip to set the story free and let it live and breathe. What I wanted to happen didn’t happen at all. My protagonist, Meg, is trying to decide how best to help a musician she has met, Fred. She hates his heavy metal music with his band of punks called “Angry Angels”, and she thinks the best way she can help him is by setting him up so he can play his beautiful, lyrical, acoustic ballads all the time. I thought so too, but I just couldn’t make it work. That’s when I listened to Fred instead of Meg, and learned the truth; Fred is using his heavy metal music to reach people who are angry, frustrated and depressed, and once he has their attention, he slides in a little bit here and there about the beauty of the world, the joy there is to find in life, and the hope that things can be better. He doesn’t need to be rescued from the band Meg considers cacophonous noise; what he needs instead is a way to keep making the music he makes. Now the story makes sense. Meg learned something and so did I.
So I’m back to it. Nick has life again, and my writing is reborn.