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Do You Know How Many Carbs are in that Scene?

“Are you sure you want to eat that?” Willow put her elbows on the desk and rested her chin on her intertwined fingers.

“What do you mean?” I had the  muffin almost in my mouth. I could already feel the fresh little blue berries bursting on my tongue.

She smiled. “There are like a zillion carbs in that one, very dangerous, muffin.”

I pulled the muffin away and looked at it thinking friend or foe. The meal had been going well and I already had one muffin. It was a pretty small muffin, about half the size of regular muffin. The first one was so good that naturally I picked up another one before the carb police showed up.

“It probably isn’t that bad.” I said without any real confidence. I could smell the sweetness swirling under my nose.

“How has the writing been going?” Smile to grin. Not a good sign.

I tried to figure out how me innocently enjoying another harmless blue berry muffin had anything to do with my writing. “Okay I guess.”

She sat back up and looked me straight in the eye. “Really?”

“Okay, so I have been a little busy and not written much this last week.” I hated to admit it, but  I had been so busy with…well life. I had not written hardly at all. “But I had been writing 750 to 1,000 words a day before this last week.”

“So why so little this week?” She wasn’t going to let this go. Like passing a car accident. It was so terrible and gross, but you just had to look regardless.

I had to think for a minute. It is not easy to look inside and see what lurks in the depths of one’s psyche. Why, after a couple of months of steadily writing nearly everyday, regardless of what was going on around me, I all of sudden hit a dry spell? I didn’t really know. Everything had been going great. One scene after another just sprang into my mind. Willow would throw out an idea and I would jump on it and start writing it out — with her help it became so clear. Then about a week ago I hit Scene 15.  Nothing was coming to me. Willow had given me an idea for the scene, but I couldn’t figure out what to do with it.

So why? After a lot more thought I figured out what I think the issue was. I had gotten so use to Willow throwing me all these wonderful nuggets, complete with a reasonable outline of how the scene would unfold. But this time it was just an idea without any details. It is a scene that needs to be there so I can’t just forget it. And while it is okay to write scenes out of sequence, this one just had to be written next. Without it there would be no way for me to get to the next scene (at least in First Draft). “I guess I had gotten so used to you doing all the work and if I couldn’t just fly through the scene, I found reasons to do other things.”

“Are you saying you got used to it being easy and when it became a little difficult you bailed.” She flipped a lock of hair out of her face so I could see the entire smug look on her face.

As far as frowns go I am pretty sure mine was one of the better ones. “Yes, it was easy. Each scene felt like the muffin. It went down quickly and without a lot of fuss. I felt like the proverbial fat cat that could just keep downing the muffins without worrying about what it was doing to me.” I sat back in the chair. Actually sagged is more like it. “I was getting spoiled.”

“So maybe too much of a good thing.” She pointed at my little blue berry friend. “It is good at the moment, but in the long run it doesn’t make you any better. It doesn’t really get you to your goal.” She had to bring up my effort to lose a couple of pounds.

I looked at the muffin longingly, but put it back on the plate. The last one was good, but I really didn’t need another one. At least until after I put in a little workout time to offset the deadly little carb bomb.

She didn’t say a word, but just watched me.

“Okay, I get it.” Not the fastest, but I eventually get there. “You’re saying that like the muffin I was chomping on scenes and getting into a bad habit eating one after another. Using an analogy of the muffin carbs to represent my laziness in writing scenes?”

“Bingo!” Finally a friendly smile. “You aren’t really lazy. You put a lot of effort into each of those scenes. Hours of sweating over names, what POV to use, what was the Conflict that was moving the scene, and subsequently the novel along.” She leaned in, her tone turning more benign. “It was just easier than you had thought and when it got a little difficult you freaked out.”

She was correct, of course. If the scene didn’t appear fully formed in my mind I thought there was something wrong. And even as I am writing this blog I already have some ideas on how to proceed. Funny thing is that it feels so much more sweeter realizing that even if it isn’t easy I can still do this. Though sweet, no carbs 🙂

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