So, I was in the midst of writing at the laundromat earlier this week. As I was doing so, I noticed that I was the only person there doing something productive, aside from washing clothes. Everyone else was talking on their phones, watching movies on their tablets, or something similar. It struck me as odd. Then my laundry needed put in the dryer and I decided I wasn't going to worry about it anymore.
No thinking about it didn't work out so well for me. I found myself going back to that moment during my idle moments through the day today. I sat here and asked myself questions about why it happened and what I felt about it. The more I considered it, the more I came to the conclusion that it was a difference between active and passive entertainment. While I am not one to go out and play sports, I write and I make stuff. My hobbies are numerous and allow me to have a robust post-apocalyptic skill set that would allow my family to survive pretty much anything, with a little effort. I am not active in the way that most people think of active entertainment. But the act of making things (and writing counts as making stuff, in my opinion) is something that we use our brains for and it makes the entertainment more of an active participation rather than passive observation.
And then there was the other random thing that came to mind last night as I was getting ready for bed. (I think this is when our brain ambushes us with stuff it was cogitating during the day. It always seems to happen to me.) I found myself thinking about characters and how they seem to come alive in my mind. I don't know about any of the other authors who are following my blog. I know that for myself, the stories don't really get any legs to them until the characters have moved from two dimensional background images to three dimensional egregores. I reach a point where I can't predict what a character is going to do in a given situation. I just find myself either a hapless observer or a strange participant in the story.
There are many scenes in the Umbrel Chronicles that I found myself as a bit player on the side. It made the vision of the scene and all the other sensory input even more intense. I could close my eyes and literally see the setting as though I was standing there. With a little concentration, I could smell the scents of the place and hear the noises of it. Indeed, there are times where I can even get some measure of textural or taste related concepts out of it. It doesn't happen all the time when I'm writing but it does so frequently enough that I sometimes wonder if I am quietly going mad.
I have noticed, however, every time I find myself at a place mentally where the character sasses me back or the setting has become 'real' that my writing is better for it. I don't honestly know how much of this comes out of my rather fractured psyche and how much of it comes out of my tendency to be very strongly based in the imaginative side of my mind. (It makes anxiety attacks wonderful fun, let me tell you. [/ sarcasm]) I have talked to my therapist about stuff and she assures me that I'm not going crazy, but these incidents happen and I question that.
On the writing front, I am presently taking a little bit of a break from working on book six. I clocked in just shy of 70k for my word count over the month of November when all was said and done. You'd figure with a high word count like that, I would have finished going through my plot map. It would be nice if it worked out like that this time.
Instead, I am sitting here squarely in the middle of it trying to determine how to get to the next major scene in a logical fashion. I worry that my rough draft is going to end with some insanely high number for the word count. A friend of mine suggested that it may need to be split into two books. I don't know how I feel about that idea. It is a logical one, but a part of me wants to keep the whole story together in one volume. I just have no idea how I am going to manage it.
It has me thinking that having multiple plot lines running through the series may not have been the best way to write this. But, it is the only one that makes sense to me, thus I continue. I am, however, wondering if that was a tactical error.