I Know You're Waiting There
How’s the novel going? I am in the midst of a delicate surgery, trying to unite the narrator’s voice I found — and love — with the more plotty story, which was not written from this POV. I’ve been trying to find a way in that does not entail rewriting every scene from scratch, but it seems the only way through is through.
I’ve been keeping the original scenes in the project (for now) to remind me of images or events I want to write toward, and the sheer chaos of this makes me dizzy every time I open the file. Then, this morning, thinking about how to clean things up without losing anything important, I was reminded me of something Ramona Ausubel suggested in her talk “How to Stay in Love with Your Work.” In the talk, she provides a number of “doorways” to staying in the work when it’s hard, and one of the doorways is to make a list of 6-8 images that capture the feeling of the book and remind you of what matters.
I began to list my images.
The main character, having finally been trusted with the key to the museum’s archive, unlocks the door and is allowed to explore on her own for the first time.
In the indoor pool at the home of her new boss, the main character swims alone at night. Her boss arrives home and watches her for several moments before she realizes he is there.
Three friends float on bright red inner tubes down the Kishwaukee River, each keeping an important secret from the others.
The main character and a new friend are woken by bright sun after accidentally spending the night in the house museum.
Ramona says to ask of the images, “How did that happen? What are the consequences?” I love that for helping with plot development, but for now it’s enough for me to just say to them, “I know you’re waiting there. I’m on my way.”
Ramona’s other doorways are all brilliant and I wish I could find a recording or transcript of this talk online, but here are her books!
More character astrology next week… ✨