Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Stuff happens, and that's fine by me

Beware - I'm going to get all philosophical on you this morning, but I promise it has a point. You see, I was going to blog about how things happen for a reason and use my latest book as an example.

I'm on a fairly tight deadline for this new book, The Monster MASH, about a group of otherworldy surgeons in the middle of a supernatural war. It's a fun book to write and I'm enjoying every minute of it. But I also know that I have to stick to my writing schedule in order to have this puppy finished in time. So I'm typing away a few days ago, really excited that Chapter 12 is working out. It's a pivotal chapter and one that I need to get right. I'm almost to the end when - zap! My computer shuts off. When I re-start and go back to my file, it's gone. At least most of it is gone.

Yes, something like that can knock a writer like me off schedule, but it also has the tendency to convince me that whatever I wrote that I don't have anymore must have been great. It turns into Shakespeare in my mind. It becomes The Words that Never Were. Never again will I write words like that. Readers will know. They'll read the new Chapter 12 and think. "Wow - if Angie had only written it better. Somehow, I knew she could have."

Illogical? Maybe. But there you have it.

Anyhow, to get back into writing, I had to basically let go of what I'd created and start something new. Because of my particular writing style, there's no way to re-capture how the chapter came together. Sure the events are the same, but the interactions will not be. They can't be. I don't know what I did last time. Fortunately for this chapter, the new one turned out better. It seems that knowing more about the chapter going in helped me to write more fun, more focused conversations and interactions. I'd even venture to say it was good my first draft pulled a kamikaze.

And life can work that way too. I found that out (again) a few mornings ago.

I was driving back home from dropping my son off at preschool when the truck in front of me on the highway dropped a hay bale. There was no way to avoid it. In fact, I don't even remember thinking anything except "There's a big hay bale coming" before I hit it going 65 mph. Now I'm fine. My Jeep is less fine (RIP to the front wheel well), but it was generally okay. The truck stopped. The police came. They cleaned the parts of my car out off the highway.

But things wouldn't have been fine if I hadn't rolled a red light two weeks ago (boy, I'm making myself sound bad here). But yes, I rolled it. A police officer pulled me over and asked to see my insurance. I had this great file in my car with all my insurance cards. Every stinking one of them. From 2006 on. The poor police man stood there in the cold and chatted with me while I went through years of insurance cards. I simply couldn't find my most current card. The police officer thought it was kind of funny and let me off with a warning to stop rolling reds and to clean out my file. I think one of his comments was even. "You looked so organized." Ha. Well, after that, I got organized. I found my card and put it where it was easy to find. And the other day, on the side of Highway 44, I really needed it.

So yes, bad stuff happens. It happens more often than we'd like. But sometimes that's good. Because it helps you out when you really need it.


Shawntelle Madison said...

Oh, Angie! I've lost words before too. It's so painful to think that thousands of words vanish and you're stuck trying to let them go and make something new.

So glad you're okay after that accident! Wow! And the multiple insurance cards. Yep, that's our family van too.

SandyG265 said...

I'm glad you're OK after the accident. I've learnt the hard way to save my data often.

Elie said...

OMG Angie. I am so glad you are ok and that your chapter turned out even better, but WOW. It sounds like you learned something after these events.

Angie Fox said...

Hey yes - why does learning have to be so hard? And I'm fine after the hay bale incident. Losing Ch 12 was more painful. Of course I haven't tried dealing with the insurance companies yet, so that could change.

Sharon S. said...

reminds you of that saying "life is stranger than fiction" (that is the saying, isn't it? ) Glad the truck stopped and you were able to get their insurance info. About losing a chapter...ouch, but like you said it turned out better. Best of luck with the rest of the book and deadlines :)