Ahhh, the middle, the ever-expanding, what-the-hell-is-happening-here middle. I am not talking about my waistline. That’s a whole other post. (How does ten pounds attach itself to you that quickly, anyway?)
Rather, I am, right now, smack in the middle of writing my new book. And while the middle is growing, the plot is not. I am, in other words, writing a whole load of (do NOT fill in the blank here) stuff I’m eventually going to delete. I should be able to just jump to the next plot point, right? Toss a transition in there and get on with it, right? I mean, I do know what’s going to happen next, I even know the sentence it will start with.
And yet I am mostly going on and on (oh, and ON) about the subtle intricacies of family relationships. Not that I don’t find that subject fascinating, and if you’ve read Catching Genius you know that it will likely be an important part of any book I write. But there’s only so much you can say, isn’t there?
Mix family relationships up with a Florida backdrop like the Everglades or Fisheating Creek and you can just toss the plot. Who needs plot?! Give me enough humidity to curl hair, a scorching sun, some mysterious body of water, and a few nutty relatives and I don’t need no stinkin’ plot. I need more Diet Coke so I can stay up and keep writing.
But, oddly, I am not panicking. (I AM panicking about those sneaky ten pounds though…) This is now the fifth book I’ve written, and I think that I’ve learned that although these words will eventually be deleted I, and I hope the story, will be the richer for having written them. They are teaching me. Teaching me about my characters, about my setting, and about my own abilities and deficiencies as a writer.
All I can do is hope that I’ve become wise enough to tell the difference.