How about a little #amwriting #onceuponatimeiniowa update?

There’s good news in all of this, so let’s start there. It’s most assuredly not writer’s block. Writer’s block is the inability to write no matter how hard you try. Your muse is silent, the words are continuously absent, possibly even truant. This definitely isn’t that.

It started with a touch of writer’s block…

It’s been over a month since last I opened my manuscript file and even looked at it before yesterday. That last time, I stared and stared at the words, unsure of how to continue. They say if you’re in a project and you find yourself blocked it is a problem with your story. You wrote yourself into a corner cell and have no possible chance of escape. In order to get your story out of jail, you must figure out what it did wrong.

My friends, the notebooks…

Now, it wasn’t true writer’s block. Once Upon a Time in Iowa was just in jail because I’d made a mistake, and I really couldn’t see what it was. I was doing a little research because I couldn’t write anyways, and a scene kept playing over and over in my head. It didn’t even involve what I’d spent days researching, but there it was. I wrote it out. It took up two and a half sheets of loose leaf paper.

The scenes kept coming, so I started organizing them in a notebook. A big, 5 subject notebook with lots of pages to fill. The little scenes landed in my scattering of small notebooks I keep everywhere. So, here I sit with a broken manuscript and a collection of sketched out scenes that belong to Once Upon a Time in Iowa which is stalled out and refusing to speak to me directly.

So many words without a home…

I’ve got papers and notebooks full of scenes, filled to the edges with ideas. I’ve got little notes in the margins on ways to expand those scenes. Still, where do I put them? They won’t fit in Once Upon a Time in Iowa as it is. That’s how they ended up scattered amongst my notebooks to begin with.

Even more scenes play around my head, teasing and taunting me with all the places they can go. There are lists of ideas, information, and plot points I could touch on if my story would just be a little more cooperative.

EUREKA!

It hit me like a ton of bricks. Jesse. He’s Mary Cardelia’s love interest. Well, he will be. The scene I brought him in on is beautiful. It’s one of my best works of art. I couldn’t have written it better. I love it. It clashes with the next scene and the scene after that and is wreaking havoc on my entire plot.

I finally admitted to myself that I have to move it out of there. It just won’t work. Still, I love that scene and didn’t want to hit DELETE. While I’m filling notebooks with ideas and scenes and sketches and thoughts, I’ve been thinking hard on what to do about that scene.

A moment of duh…

Move it! It’s a beautiful scene. However, there is an injury that occurs in that scene which makes it downright impossible for Mary Cardelia to perform her tasks in the next scene. She is desperately trying to save her favorite skirt, which is completely and totally covered in the most disgusting of muds. There is an awkward conversation trying to make Jesse fit in the story where he doesn’t belong and then a crude attempt at laughing off the injury like it is no big deal she’s now scrubbing the skirt.

Jesse’s got to go. He just doesn’t belong in this part of the story. He showed up too early and now I must show him the door. Thank you, sir. Please come again in another few chapters or so. Goodbye. And so I began the process of packing Jesse up and moving him out. I created a file — save for later – onceuponatimeiniowa — just for Jesse’s scenes. They will be back. Especially his arrival. It’s too beautiful to delete.

It should have been obvious…

As I’m moving Jesse out and looking over all of the scenes I’ve been working out, I realized it was there in front of me the whole time. Mary Cardelia had things to do before Jesse came in and threw her life into chaos. Many of the scenes I’ve been working on will do just as well before Jesse’s arrival, some will even perform better.

Back to work…

So you see, it wasn’t writer’s block. It was exactly what they say writer’s block is. A plot hole. A big, ugly, sucking black hole that was devouring Once Upon a Time in Iowa alive. Now, that black hole sits in another file with only things it is allowed to swallow. My not block has lifted and I am finally moving in a forward direction again. If only I could figure out how to put all these great scenes into my story so they can all continue to grow and flourish together.

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