I had a bad stretch during April. It wasn't only writer's block, it was a deep, depressive feeling that I couldn't write, that I'd never produce anything worth publishing. All writers have weaknesses, of course, but I felt that mine were so grievous that they'd hold me back from achieving the one thing I'd always dreamed of, using the one single talent that I seem to have. One of my weaknesses is that I can think of problems and challenges for my protagonists just fine, it's resolving those problems that is hard for me. And a book stands and falls on its resolution, on the answering of questions, and the wriggling out of sticky situations without the help of deus ex machina. Also, I'm sure I have trouble creating realistic, likeable characters. Anyway, I was so down that I didn't even feel like writing. I was that close to giving up.
But I remembered the parable of the talents, where the lord took away the one single talent from the servant who had buried it, and gave it to somebody else. I didn't want my one single talent to be taken away -- leaving me with absolutely nothing -- so I decided to write something anyway. I'd allow myself to work on something that was absolute junk, just to keep myself writing. I started out with a small idea (and of course no idea of how to resolve it) and did a paragraph here, and a scene there. I reworked the beginning several times, not sure of how to continue, and made my protagonist thoroughly miserable, because that was how I was feeling myself.
And then something happened. I found that I was no longer so miserable. Instead of being stuck with a beginning and no middle or end, I found that I was thinking beyond those few scenes, and coming up with ideas for the rest of the story. I even saw my way to a resolution of the conflict that involved the protagonist winkling her way out of the situation, instead of relying on others to rescue her! A miracle is happening -- the story is growing and developing! I think about it when I'm falling asleep, when I'm brushing my teeth, doing housework ... almost all the time, in fact! I'm excited that I might actually be capable of writing this! I felt the same excitement back in January and February when I was writing Useful, and a year ago when I was working on my Guy of Gisborne fanfic The Dragon of Throxenby. I love that feeling.
I have a vague hope that I might be able to finish this story and submit it to the Mormons and Monsters anthology over at A Motley Vision blog. But I'm not going to promise anything! Even if I do finish writing and polishing by the end of September, the complete product might no longer fit the criteria. But at least I'll be writing with a goal in mind, and be learning something in the process (hopefully.)
So, that's my big update. Thanks for reading!