Continuing the process of completing the book, I moved things around as I described last week, and the story began to flow! Not only that, it allowed for a new scene where my character has to process the loss of her book.
I found myself suddenly trapped in fear about exploring her reaction, and did what I always do when I get cornered: I went to the Housing Works on Columbus Avenue because they have great books and I trust the randomity of a thrift shop, where every object has a story because it once belonged to someone else.
The store is an airy space with blond wood floors and creamy walls. The sunlit room is filled with furniture, clothes, dishes, and books arranged in a casually beautiful display. I picked the first book I saw, Joan Didion’s memoir about the death of her daughter and husband, The Year of Magical Thinking.
Photograph by Julian Wasser / Netflix
I read a few pages and realized that what Ms. Didion accomplished was to create the experience of someone being in the moment and sharing their emotional response at the same time!
I was so excited because I just needed to find the prism of my character’s point of view, and experience the events with her, then write it down! What a moment of clarity!
I came home, got a box of tissues, and read the book from cover to cover. I’d read the memoir when it was first published in 2005 as a fan, but now I was reading as an admiring colleague. By the time I was done, I knew what to do, and went back to work with renewed vigor. By borrowing Ms. Didion’s point of view, my character’s own perspective became clear and the section needed has been written and revised.
To recap: If stuck, read other writers writing about the topic you need to address in your own story.
Our little stray, Spooky, has settled down but has not yet allowed us to pet him. I found a video to educate him, and it was adorable, I’m including it here.
As always, I’m super excited to share the latest episode of JOS #99.
Here’s to your successful writing,
Professor Marilyn Horowitz