October 22nd, 2012


Drawing a Blank

I had all kinds of grand plans to get a ton of work done this weekend, but it just wouldn't come to me. I tried doing the "make a list of 20 things that could happen" exercise, and I couldn't come up with 20. So I switched gears and started reading a research book for the next project I want to work on, which is rewriting an old book where I've discovered that I still like the characters, situation and main plot, but the events and the writing are a problem. Just reading this research book gave me ideas for how to fix it. One of the problems mentioned in rejection letters was the fact that the world didn't seem real. I'd developed all kinds of history for it, but I hadn't fleshed it out into the story, and I didn't seem to have conveyed what it looked like. My characters were moving through blurry blank spaces. But I found a history book about something that parallels a situation in my story, and I now have all kinds of imagery I can use to build that world.

Then I came up with a few more ideas for the current book while watching TV. I think today I'm going to go back a few chapters and get a running start and maybe then I'll know what should happen next. I've already had my exercise and run my errands for the day by walking to the post office and the Indian market. They had okra on sale, and I got some shrimp yesterday, so it's shrimp Creole time. I may fry whatever okra I have left for tomorrow night's dinner. That's probably not what they have the okra in that store for, but I doubt they care how I cook it. It's amazing how much the produce for Indian food overlaps with Italian, Mexican and Creole. I probably should learn how to cook Indian since I can get the ingredients, but it seems awfully complicated, or else I haven't found the right cookbook. I could probably go to the Indian market and stand in the appropriate aisle, looking helpless, and then some other shopper will offer to help me or offer advice. That's worked when I was trying to decide on tea and rice (and I wasn't even trying deliberately then).

I'm supposed to do a writing post this week, and I'm drawing a complete blank for what to talk about. Any questions or suggestions for a topic? Is there still any interest in this? I've been doing it for about four years now, so it's probably time to reassess and reevaluate to make sure I'm filling a need.