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I'm not sure how it happened. I can certainly tell you I had no intention whatsoever of doing this so quickly, I know it's not proper and besides it's a bit, well, dumb. Or at least foolhardy. But I couldn’t help it. I started a new novel.

See, I'd been trying really hard to develop the outline, the characters, the whole milieu. Working to create the world inside my head. The twists and turns and emotional heart of it. The backstory, the guts, the midpoint, the story of the story, the why of the what, the meaning of life, or at least an approximation thereof in the form of a slice of fictional narrative of a person going through an event. Y'know, working.

At first I couldn't. Just stared at the screen. I know something should go here. I know I can do this. I've done it before. It's not the idea-generating that's hard in writing. It's what comes after. What that idea generates, as it were. The story that grows from that seedling. And my brain wasn't having any. It was flat out refusing to brainstorm.

Stress will do that. I'm trying to do too many things, generate freelance work (or, well, think about doing it), prepare for tax time, look for an agent (a story for another time). Pressure. Hopes and fears. Not good for storytelling.

A friend said forget it, put the other stuff aside, don't worry, just write. So I decided to give myself a week off from fretting and planning and marketing. And lo, it flowed. Plot points, chewy character dilemmas, point and counterpoint, theme and structure. The stuff that draws me to novel writing.

So that was good. But I had a long way to go before writing "Chapter One."

Except my brain, that recalcitrant, irritating writer's brain, it had another agenda. Thursday night I lay down, head on my pillow, relaxed and ready to sleep. I heard the first sentence of my novel, how it could go. Good, nice. But go to sleep. The exact words don't matter, I'll remember well enough in the morning. Then the second sentence wrote itself on the inside of my eyelids. And the third.

By the time I sat up and grabbed pen and paper, I'd written the entire first page. Of a novel that shouldn't be ready to write.

On Friday I transcribed that page and wrote another. I don't know if I'll go back to plotting or move ahead with the actual pages of the actual story.

I'm not altogether sure it's up to me.


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Ha! Lucky. Writing's a struggle for me, although I am excited (again) about my latest idea.

Now if only I didn't have to research just about every aspect of it... excuse me, I need to get back to reading The Art of War. ;-)