I think in another life I must have been a magpie. I like bright and shiny stuff. There’s never too much ribbon on a package, never too many lights on a Christmas tree. If it’s colorful, small, shiny, or lights up, I go there, like a moth to the flame.
I’m at a turning point in my planned trilogy. Book 1 is finished and I’m revising it, writing query letters, and sending it out. I’ve also started book 2, which is not going well, despite my best efforts to get the plot ironed out first. Even so, I can’t seem to find the place where the story should start. So far I’ve torn up three versions of the opening.
So it’s no wonder that I got distracted by the idea of writing a short story. It looked bright and shiny, a fun thing to do while I refreshed and recharged from finishing the long slog of book 1. For the short story, I knew the entire plot and all the characters. It’s based on a news story I saw on the BBC about a Japanese bookseller (although I’m turning this news story into a romance). I knew it would be a perfect short story. A perfect shiny solution to my book 2 problems!
A month later, and my shiny perfect short story has turned into a slog. I know the acts have to come more quickly and maybe there’s only two turning points, but I was trying to fit in a third, and what could I possibly use for escalating tension and the crisis point? I can’t find another one. Are two enough? Do I actually have to research retail? The story seems so short and sort of boring. Can somebody throw me a rope so I can just crawl out of that pile of quicksand that’s sucking up my time?
[Deep breath] So now I have one project I can’t start and another I can’t finish. I think I need a bright shiny object to attract my attention back to my manuscripts where it belongs. I know. A gold star. That’ll do it. That and the rope.
Tell me: Am I the only one?