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No Man's Land

The gnome has been faithful these last few weeks. My writing goal is 1000 words a day, a number that I find is just right for me. It’s a small enough number that I can squeeze the words out when they aren’t flowing and still feel like I’ve accomplished something, and it’s also big enough that the feeling isn’t trivial. I also find that it’s a small enough goal to leave me feeling really positive on the good days when the story is coming easy and I’m able to put out 1500 or 2000 words at a clip. Thankfully, there have been a lot of those good days lately.

I’m in a part of the story right now that has never been crystal clear in my mind. I know where I’ve come from and I know where I need to get to, but the series of events I’m writing about now have always been a sort of muddy no-man’s-land to me. That’s a difficult thing to write and it’s these parts of the process that require me to have faith and continue writing, trusting that I’ll come out of the fog soon and see the destination clearly once more.

While it’s stressful to know that I’m entering territory like this, I also find that it’s surprising and often revelatory. Things happen that I don’t expect. Ambitions and plot points are made suddenly clear in ways that I never fully understood before. It’s a fascinating thing to stumble upon your own characters and see them for who they are and who they’ve become.

I went through this same process while writing
The Fiddler’s Gun and I’ve noticed when looking back over it that some of my best writing has come from these difficult periods. The reason, I think, is that it’s in these times, when I can’t lean heavily on ‘inspiration’ or the excitement of writing, that I have to rely on the basic craft and discipline of presenting information in a succinct and well-written manner. In other words, I’m less caught up in the story myself, so I’m more concerned with communicating clearly and efficiently.

I’ve nearly slogged through this middle ground of
Fiddler’s Green now and I’m looking forward to the mad dash to the finish. The third act is action packed and emotional and I can’t wait to write it.
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