Saturday, June 8, 2013

conflict and tension

Twiddling my thumbs. Pacing. Puttering. Waiting. Waaaaaaiting! This is the hardest part of writing for me: waiting for the idea to come to me so that I can put it into words.

I've been working on my second novel for about a year now. I thought I had the ending nailed down tight. I thought it was tense, surprising, and plausible, that it tied up each of the plot points and brought the story around full circle.

Now? I'm not so sure. So I've been trying to take the story down a different path...but it just won't come.

The question is, will it ever come to me? Frustration sits at my right hand, Impatience on the left. This week they had the nerve to suggest that I should give up on this one. Put it away and concentrate on something I can handle...say, trimming the shrubs or cleaning the garage.

I tried to explain that I've had other things on my mind lately. A wedding. A face to face encounter with a rabid raccoon (yes, it happened!).
Well. not this exact raccoon, but one just as cute until it
started to stagger toward broad daylight.

 An up-coming trip to Africa. Still, I hate to leave this book unfinished.

Enter: My muse (hark...a distant fanfare!).

She wraps a consoling arm around me. "Sweetie," she says, "you don't need more action need more depth." And she's right. My politically correct, normally constrained, conflict-aversive protagonist is about to commit an horrendous act of sabotage and I need to plumb his thoughts and feelings about it, his emotional reaction...especially since it's bound to escalate the PTSD he struggles so hard to keep under wraps.

Remember: conflict and tension can be psychological, emotional, and mental as well as physical. In fact, it should be.

What do you do when you're stuck for an idea? How do you summon your muse?
"How often
--even before we begin--
have we declared a task "impossible"?
And how often have we construed
a picture of ourselves as inadequate?
A great deal depends upon the thought patterns we choose
and on the persistence with which we affirm them."
--Piero Ferrucci--
My book, "Empower! Women's Stories of Breakthrough, Discovery and Triumph", is now available at One Good Woman Need something to read at the beach this summer? Looking for a gift for a friend? It's also available on Amazon at


  1. You had an encounter with a rabid raccoon? That must have been unnerving.

    1. Delores--scariest thing ever, especially since I'm here alone all day and I have two dogs. Right up there with the snake in the cellar...