“It’s Like You’re Always Stuck in Second Gear”

So…yeah. This novel. I finished the Christmas novel and got it off to beta readers (who are all loving it and having only the kind of minor tweaks that will elevate it from good to great!) and went back to trying to finish the book that basically got put on hold this time last year when I took my current job and suddenly I had no more free time until…pretty much November, when I switched to the Christmas story. Right. So. This novel. It’s giving me fits.

I actually got a couple bridge scenes between Huge Event A and Huge Event B that together culminate in The Most Desirous Outcome out of the way with no drama. I don’t know what had gotten me stuck on them before. Maybe it was knowing that I had no idea how to approach this scene (Huge Event B, AKA the true climax of the novel).

I…seriously. I have no idea how to write this scene. I have three or four different versions of it sketched out from the various iterations of this plot point that has been connected to, goodness, maybe three different stories I was brainstorming over the past five years? And the thing about all of those scene sketches is that they start right at the point of decision for the hero. In my sketches it would be “this is what’s happening. Go!” and just jump into his reaction.

I have been excited to write this scene since I realized it was the perfect pivot for this particular storyline, the perfect way to force the hero to act. It had not occurred to me that I would have no idea how to stage it…that once I got to this point, I would be utterly at a loss as to how to present the situation.

What I am thinking about doing is going back to the old rhetorical technique you learn about in high school called en medias re–that is, beginning in the midst of the action. Maybe the reason all those scene sketches started with no ramp-up to that moment is that there is no good way to ramp up.

The problem I am having, basically, is that if there is a ramp-up it needs to be tense. Fraught. Basically an escalation from worry into anxiety into paranoia. And I have no ideas, no words, no vision, for what happens during that escalation. Not in specifics. “The bets get higher and the taunts get harsher.”  Not much to go on, you know?  But the problem I have with he idea of just jumping in where shit hits the fan is, it would sort of come out of nowhere. I think this particular moment NEEDS that introduction via escalation in order to have the proper tension. OR I can have the hero walk up at the precise moment everything goes wrong, but that is just one giant coincidence. So either he is there waiting his turn until something happens that he can’t hold his tongue, or his presence causes the blow-up.

So I am stuck. I might try the EMR just to see IF it works, or if maybe seeing exactly where my hero and the other players on page are at that moment helps me see where he–and the rest of them–have been.

I have 10 days to write the end of this book and rewrite the first third of it (revising to the current and hopefully final iteration of the plot) if I want to stay on my Schedule O’ Dreams for 2013. This delay? NOT HELPING MY ANXIETIES.

Muse, you better be puking your last for the week right now. Haul your lazy arse out of that gutter and come help me figure this shit out!

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