state of the desk

February 6, 2020

I am in desperate need of distracting right now, so I’m going to talk a little bit about work. (I don’t suppose it’s really work when sometimes it’s the thing that makes me feel better? I’m so lucky in this regard.)

I’ve been working on a new novel since November. I passed 60,000 words on it this week. This one’s been a little strange — before this week, I hadn’t hit the wall. I usually hit the wall between 30k and 40k words — this is where the outline falls apart, I don’t know what happens next, I don’t know how to get from point A to point B and I have to stop, brainstorm, outline, make a map, whatever. Well, on this one, I’d been working on it straight for 3 months, which is really unusual.

I shouldn’t have worried, because the wall came last week and I had to take a break. I know basically what the end is — I have a really clear picture of it. But I’m not totally sure how to get there.  At least, I wasn’t. But I took that break, made that outline, and now suddenly ideas are pouring in. Part of why the first half of this went so quickly is I’d been thinking about it for a long time, I’d played out a bunch of the scenes in my mind over and over. But I didn’t really have anything for the second half.

Now I’ve got a map. Now I know where I’m going, and now the scenes are coming together. It feels good.

So, that’s some advice I very often give to people who get stuck. Instead of staring at the blank page, take a break. Take a walk. Bring some scratch paper. Draw a map. Write some notes. Brainstorm. Give your brain a chance to stretch. It’ll feel good.



2 Responses to “state of the desk”

  1. David Hack Says:

    Whenever you speak of a new story that you have been thinking about for a long time I ask myself could this be the long awaited Carrie Vaughn Space Opera?
    If it is not this story, could you say how that pot is simmering on some future post?

  2. carriev Says:

    No, not working on the space opera yet, but it’s coming…

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