Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The knife bit into Lara's skin, and a trickle of blood seeped...

Now what?

I stare at the screen, drawing a blank. The cursor blinks mockingly, as if to remind me I'm supposed to have something brilliant to say right now.

But I don't.

'Okay,' I think. 'Forget brilliant. Shoot for pedantic; mundane, even. Just get something down, quick, because you've got to finish this scene to stay on schedule. You'll juice it up later.'

Half an hour passes. No words appear.

I look around. Certain there's an external cause, I run through the 'Perfect Writing Atmosphere Checklist'. Lighting: Good. Noise: Absent. Temperature adjusted, candles lit, dishwasher loaded: Check, check, check.

At this point the committee in my head chimes in, offering helpful things like: 'I'll bet James Patterson doesn't waste time like this,' and 'Dean Koontz wrote LIGHTNING in seven weeks, from first word to final revision.'

I pour another cup of coffee. Feed the cat. Let the dogs out, then back in. Light a third (or fourth) candle.

Then, I settle back in the chair, open the laptop, and glare at the stupid cursor some more.

Finally, I delete the last line, and write:

Lara wrestled the knife away from Maxwell and tossed it into the river.

"I don't feel like being murdered today." She wiped the dirt from her Yoga pants and retrieved her lost flip-flop. "Better scram, before you find out how dangerous a pissed-off soccer mom can be."

It's not Hemingway, but it's a start. I smile and keep typing, curious where the story goes from here.

I'll make a thousand words today, easy.

Cheers...and Happy Writing!



  1. I LOVE this sentence! Sometimes it just takes time to get started. I'm impressed with writers who keep their butt in the chair and keep on keeping on! Good job!
    Jackie king

    1. Ha! Isn't it funny, too, how we get stuck when we're on the wrong track? It's as if we're trying to drag our characters in a direction they don't want to go, and they resist with all their strength.

      Thanks for the cheerful words!


    2. That's a lesson I forget from time to time -- that when it feels like I have to dig each word out of my brain one at a time, I'm usually veering off the path. I need to put it on a Post-It on my computer.


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