Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Life and Other Disasters

by Elizabeth

The very first writing conference was a smashing success. My agent pitch went so well that I was, in fact, going to be the rare bird who got an agent at my very first rodeo (ha!). I met a woman who I roomed with the next weekend at another conference, and the speakers were interesting and informative and I learned a ton.

One thing in particular I remember was a writer advising to put your characters in peril, and then make it worse. Main character running away from the bad guys? Oh, too bad her car won't start. She has to be in Florida by tomorrow? Oops, all the planes are grounded because of a hurricane. You get the idea.

This week, I planned to hunker down each day, starting with Tuesday, and write write write. Except that morning I got a call which required an immediate trip to Home Depot. No trip to Home Depot, of course, is complete without a repeat trip to Home Depot, but did I mention that car trouble and hurricane idea? Add three more trips to Home Depot, three to a different home improvement store, and throw in another to a third just to make it really fun.

And then the tile fell off my front porch.

The only thing uglier than the old tile is the broken new tile


This is actually a really good reminder for the manuscript, both the one I'm working on, and really any manuscript. When things are aggravating, or miserable, or just plain bad, adding another element, especially one wholly unexpected, is not only a challenge to the character, but also interesting, and dare I say it? Realistic.
Because we all have those days, weeks, don't we? I'm having one, but that doesn't mean my plans for a productive week have to take a nosedive. Instead, I need to do what my character would need to do: fix the car, figure out how to get to Florida, make my writing goals making sure my characters encounter at least as much trouble as I am this week. Life can be a disaster, and that's sometimes what makes it interesting. It's definitely what makes a novel interesting, and hopefully the car finally starts, one plane gets through to Florida, and the tile gets fixed.
And the novel gets written. Anyway.


  1. The good thing about those days is the ones following are usually pretty good! Yay on the agent... and great points about adding just a little more tension to the story! :)

  2. I only wish I had gotten an agent at that time! Nope, I was just being sarcastic. But yes, the follow up can be good. It's sometimes what we make of it, isn't it? Thanks for dropping in, Jessica.


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