I am so lost these days in my novel, and not in the good way. It is a horrible, tangled maze and I can’t get out. Chapter Two is the worst. I’m contemplating losing it entirely, but then there’s Chapter Three.
The novel has become a place I visit so infrequently but which I think I know too well to take a map. I fear the moment when I will return to my book and realize that I or it has changed and the story has lost its appeal even to me (or I to it). It was the case with everything I’ve written up until this. Somehow this book is still attractive to me, three years since I created it, two years since the first draft.
But what is it that appeals to me? By asking myself the question I became immediately aware it wasn’t my main character. It was her sister, it was her men, it was her actions (but was she even really doing them?) She is like a limp dish cloth being dragged across this story and soiling it. She needs to wake up! She needs to be who she started off being! I lost her somewhere when she fell from first person POV to third. She disappeared.
So I made a list: Jillian is. And then I just filled it up with things I wasn’t sure were even true about her. Jillian is obsessed with famous writers. Jillian is uncomfortable in crowds. Jillian sleeps with her bed in the living room. Jillian is always trying to figure people out. But as the list went on and on I realized that they were true things about her. I realized I knew her, I had just forgotten about her in the rush to tell her story.
Jillian isn’t me. She is someone I created and need to continue to create. I need to be enthralled by her if anyone else is going to be. I need to be totally wrapped up in her quirks and eccentricities if I am to let her breathe.
I stopped writing today and started thinking. Am I moving this story along if I keep writing off into nothing, or am I moving this story along if I start taking everything that is nothing and turn it into something. Something like a bed in the living room and a phobia of crowds that at least, if anything, gets me excited to read my own story.