A few days ago, I was able to write one new chapter - one in the middle of my otherwise finished story. I was very emotional while I wrote it and equally excited to have completed it. I let my husband read it. He gave me a very lukewarm opinion - something like "well, hmmm, maybe I need to read the chapters that come before it to put it in context." Super huge bummer.
All my excitement about finally writing that one chapter deflated like a balloon with a tiny leak.
However, this middle section isn't something I'm willing to give up on. The middle part is where the main character has real-time interaction with the protagonist, her mother. When I reread it last night, I could see places where I held back. I didn't entirely go to that completely raw place that hurts when you touch it but makes for good writing.
Today I'm going to try to poke that spot, to get to it, to say it, to show it.
Over the last few days, while I've been moping a little about my husband's reaction, I have been fighting the urge to set aside writing and build databases and study for a database administration certification (which would also provide steady, reliable, and very good income).
The attraction for me besides the potential to make a lot of money without having to work too terribly hard is that database design and development is creative but has constraints. How you choose to design the database has a direct impact on performance and usability. The certification exams as well as the administration end of databases (as opposed to development) are black and white - which is very attractive to me right now. There's no gray area. It is what it is in a very fact-driven sort of way. My mind is craving an activity that is that solid.
It's much more difficult with writing (especially when you are stuck getting the middle part just right) because writing is so gray (actually, rainbow colored with sparkles) - so creative. But the more I stare at the words in the middle of my novel and think about building databases, the more I see what I need to do to optimize the experience for the reader. I need to take out the extraneous stuff so it flows faster. I need to expose the raw conflict. I need to apply all the techniques I applied to the first eight chapters.
When I look at my novel like I would look at designing a database, it makes it easier for me. I can detach my ego from it. When I think logically about the changes I need to make to this section of my novel, it seems very do-able, like I can do it today.
Specifically, I know I need to combine two chapters, change the dialogue just a little between the mother and daughter, and take out some lines that don't need to be there. I need to write the next chapter and add in one particular mother-daughter conversation and a chapter about a bike ride. Then it works.
Wish me luck and forgive me for not visiting and commenting more. I'm going to reward myself for getting this work done by giving myself a day to catch up. Must do my work first....