Imaginary medicine

Recently I took the ducklings to the dentist. In the grotty old carpark out the back is an equally grotty sign, advertising for a chemist shop that no longer exists:

CHEMIST: Prescriptions made up

This tickled Demon Duck’s sense of the absurd.

“Hey, look Mum – ‘prescriptions made up’. What’s this prescription do? We don’t know! We made it up!

In other efforts of the imagination, I progress with my NaNo effort. Yesterday I would have said I was progressing well. Today has been more of a struggle.

I’m trying a new approach this year. In the past I’ve started writing with no more than a premise, a handful of characters and a couple of scenes worked out. This can bring great delight, as your imagination throws up exciting ideas and connects elements in surprising ways. It can also, of course, create a huge amount of stress, as you struggle to work out the plot on the fly. I’ve never managed to write more than about 500 words an hour this way, and often considerably less, so it’s always been a stressful slog.

This year I have much more of the story mapped out – perhaps as much as three-quarters – with many scenes neatly noted on plot cards. This has meant a more cohesive story and a writing speed hovering close to 1000 words an hour, or double my usual. Go, me! This is more like it!

Sadly, today I arrived at one of the holes: “memory scene involving characters A and B”. I hoped by the time I got here something brilliant would have occurred to me. No such luck.

After procrastinating most of the day I decided to skip it and write the next scene I knew instead. Lord, it was like pulling teeth. Eventually I got something half the length of my usual scenes, that took twice as long to write, and lay limp on the page like cold spaghetti.

And I still have to write another 900 words to make the day’s quota. I’m well ahead, but I’m determined not to lose any of my buffer. This year I’m not stopping at 50,000 and outlining the rest of the book; I want to write my way all the way to The End.

My poor imagination is feeling bruised already. I could do with one of those imaginary prescriptions!

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