It’s weird. I’m about to dive into the third and final draft of my sixth cozy mystery. I only finished the first draft on March 2nd and the second draft on the 13th and yet I know going back to it will be odd.
Because it’s a contemporary series and this story ends on the first day of spring, which is basically right now. And I know, for example, that there’s a little back and forth scene in there where my hero and heroine (because there’s a romance subplot) are bantering back and forth about all the places where they could go for a weekend getaway. My heroine suggests Iceland or Argentina or Guatemala. My hero is all for San Diego.
It’s a conversation that I could’ve seen happening when I wrote it a month ago. But now…
Not so much. I’m still going to finish it up as if it wasn’t happening in this world and this spring. But something that should’ve passed by as a nothing scene will have a different resonance for readers now.
My thought had been that I’d turn to a fantasy novel next. I’ve had three of them percolating away in the background of my mind, but in the last couple weeks it’s like those three novels just dried up and disappeared. Maybe because in my fantasy I like to wrestle with big ideas and I’m not sure what ideas I can safely wrestle with right now.
(I had a post I’d written yesterday that I chose not to publish about all the dark things I’ve thought about as part of this whole thing. Those squiggly little thoughts that were well hidden under a rock but are starting to see the light as people reveal themselves through their actions. But who wants to write about that when it’s playing out right here, right now?)
It’s a challenge. To write at all. To figure out what to write. To keep going and keep focused rather than watch the chaos and try to figure out what’s coming next or how bad it’ll get. To not take the anger and anxiety and amplify and spread it further, either in person or through my writing, but to at the same time make sure that people understand what’s coming.
But what’s the other choice? Do you write about happy fluffy bunnies when the world is on fire? People do need them, but wow that’s a tough one to pull off.
And I know the wrenching change isn’t done happening just yet either. So what seems good to write today may not seem so great in six weeks when that first draft is done…But if you want to keep moving forward you have to do it regardless.
2 thoughts on “Writing During Wrenching Times”
I empathise. I was about two scenes into the first draft of a fantasy novel, but now all my mind is doing is throwing overt or metaphorical infection scenarios at me.
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The thing about writing is that it often is a way to express what we are feeling and observing, and I’d actually encourage you to write stories that let out those emotions and thoughts, especially if you can weave it into a compelling story. Fantasy and Sci-fi (the latter in particular) are perfect for those kinds of expressions. And I’ve found that readers also very much appreciate such expressions, because those who aren’t skilled at writing will look at these kinds of stories and say, “Thank you for putting into words everything I’ve felt!” It’s one of our super powers as writers 🙂
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