Seriously? Ten days? Well, Stuff Happened, and doesn’t it always. Into the Fire had been dashing along happily but suddenly planted its feet and refused to move. Part of it was lack of sleep. Part of it was…”I don’t like my beginning. Do it over.” I explained gently and firmly that we do not do that kind of change until we have come to the end. “YOU may not, but I want a new beginning and I want it now!” Followed by a cascade of beginnings, as if from a catalog of beginnings, and a whiny voice in my inner ear.
I attempted to go on from where I was (interesting scene, heading somewhere definite) and the whiny voice got louder. There’s this thing about books…they do have a mind of their own that feels (though obviously it cannot be) completely apart from the Author’s mind. It’s good that they have a mind of their own, but not when they regress to the toddler “I don’t WANNA!” stage of development. If an adult suddenly regresses, something’s very wrong in that person’s world…and the same is true of books. It can be important to listen to them, encourage them to talk about the problem (however ridiculous it seems to the Author. Or, in the case of persons, their therapist.)
It is Novel’s opinion that the original beginning is a) out of sequence temporally and b) not active enough. Novel finally confessed this morning that since Cold Welcome begins with Ky in a spacecraft uttering thoughts, nothing in the first chapter of Into the Fire should have Ky in an airplane uttering thoughts, even if that’s the right temporal order (“NO IT’S NOT,” shouts the book into my ear. “It starts with UMMMPH!” Which, I point out with an entire beach towel stuffed into Novel’s mouth, would be a huge spoiler and we also do not do spoilers.) There. Novel is muffled for the moment. I do understand about the repetition of circumstances even though… (spoiler alert! spoiler alert!) All right. NO SPOILERS HERE, safe to read.
The book wants a new beginning. I tried several rearrangements yesterday. Book is “meh” about most of them and I can’t stand the one it doesn’t exactly like but isn’t vocal about. It is not time to write new beginnings; it is time to get to the [redacted] end. Book was not happy that I went back and read the post here about the trains. It still feels perfectly justified in having been bullying me and the branch-line train. I still feel it should LISTEN to me. It still feels I should listen to IT.
I’m going to make bread. Pounding on dough should enable me to listen to the book while working off the frustration of Book Being Stubborn (this is not, by the way, any form of writer’s block. I can write just fine. It’s a typical book-related problem that shows up in many books-in-progress and working through such things is a normal (not pathological) part of the writing life. It’s like the thing in horse training when you realize that the horse is now picking up canter from halt on the left lead perfectly, but still doesn’t take a smooth canter depart from a trot, let alone walk or halt, on the right lead. Predictable that if you want a fully supple horse, you have to train both sides, from the simplest exercise to the most advanced, and predictable that books will throw up certain problems at certain points in their development. )
I’m still going to make bread. It’s that kind of day; it’s been that kind of week, and falling out the door of a friend’s house onto her concrete porch, SPLAT, did not make it easier. (I’m fine. Just bruises. Thanks to hormone therapy and some experience in how to fall SPLAT without serious injury most of the time.) Tomorrow is Advent 4 and next Sunday of course is Christmas, which I will be celebrating with waffles & maple syrup, the traditional Christmas breakfast of my childhood. Between now and then, much needs to be done. Bread is part of it.
May everyone who celebrates any holiday in this season have a wonderful celebration thereof, with those friends/family/others you most want to spend time with.