“How Am I Supposed to Find 60 Feet of Bridge?”

Or, The conundrum of bridge scenes

The two stories I am currently co-writing as my main focus were loosely outlined before I started writing them at all, and I have been composing them pretty much as they will read.  But I have hit a wall with both of them where the scenes I’m working on just aren’t working for me. 

This is because they are bridge scenes—necessary events that have to happen to take the characters from point A to point B (or really, at this point in the narrative, probably point E to F) but not exactly stirring scenes to write.  I hope this does not mean they will be totally boring to read; generally I have found that not to be the case when I go back and re-read a story I have written.  Because these are necessary points, and sometimes they are the more subtle pieces of change in a character’s perspective.  They are simply less “exciting”—the whimper and not a bang, so to speak—and therefore something written by rote, by outline, by force majeure, and not by inspiration.

I am faced with a conundrum:  try and plow through the story “in order” and maybe end up off-track because the bridge scene meanders too much, or skip it and go on to the next interesting part of the story and then back-fill later.

It always feels like an accomplishment if I can power through a section that is giving me pain, and then I don’t have to go back to it at the end.  My mental image is that of a truck ramming into a roadblock until the roadblock has been reduced to rubble on the asphalt, and then backing up and running over it again, just for fun.  I am quite hard-headed about these things…it is a struggle of wills between myself and my muse, and I hate to lose. 

The problem with just sticking it out until I’m past the rocky part is that sometimes the reluctance to move forward is because my subconscious has spotted something in the way the story is playing out that is not working, and which will substantively affect the presentation of the story once I spot it.  Secondarily, it also makes me not want to write when what I’m writing isn’t fun.

Then, too, a section that gives me pain and keeps my word count at 1-300 a day for several days in a row, can often be solved in a half-hour’s time after I’ve skipped on ahead and then come back to it later.  I think it’s having a clearer view of what actually needs to appear on page that can help.

What do I do?  Let my writer’s block win and move ahead, or push past the obstruction and then blow down the highway with my review mirror left behind with the rubble?

Which wastes more time?  Which causes me less trouble—by which I mean rewriting—later?

Sadly I think in this case the issue is that the story itself is not being presented properly, but I can’t quite see my way clear to fix it. 

This is why I co-write stories.  When one isn’t working, there’s always another one.

If only sixty words of bridge went as far as sixty feet….


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