That’s me: a rhinoceros with a dream.
Well, two really.
The past six weeks I’ve had two momentous projects: potty-training and plotting. Neither task is for the faint of heart. Both require blood, sweat and tears to see through.
In a previous post I mentioned how my daughter, at seventeen months, signaled she was ready for potty-training. I wasn’t. But I wasn’t going to pass on the opportunity. Potty-training ready toddlers are like race horses out of the starting gate. When the gate is thrown up, signaling a go, you better jump and grab on, or you have to wait until the horses makes it around the track back to the starting gate. And I don’t know of very many horses that would race around the track to say, “Please sit me on the little toilet, so I can go potty.”
It’s definitely been an uphill battle.
We’ve done Pull-Ups then panties then Pull-Ups then panties. I’ve ran countless miles in a fifty foot radius just in trips to the bathroom. I’ve spent hours watching her for potty signals, and every other word that comes out of my mouth is either “potty,” “poopy,” “toilet,” or “panties.” Even if I am talking to someone besides my daughter–which has led to some pretty hilarious and awkward conversations.
During all of this, I have been plotting an adult urban fantasy.
I got the idea right before I went to the Romantic Times Booklover Conference 2013 back in May (which I highly recommend). The more I thought about it the more I loved it. I literally can’t wait to get back to work on it. With this book I felt that I needed to do something I had never done before: plot.
Okay, I had plotted before, but I got the feeling that with this book I needed to do the plotting equivalent of Sylvester Stallone on steroids. Urban fantasy usually has large fantasy worlds, and I had come to understand that I had to have time to explore the world and characters before I could start the first draft.
Which is really intimidating.
It raises a lot of questions:
- How do I know when I’m done?
- Is there too much plotting?
- Is there too little plotting
- Am I plotting too slow? Too fast?
- How well do I need to know my characters before I can write them?
- Does pounding your head against your computer count as plotting?
- What if I’m not a plotter and I’m killing my story?!
Plotting can be intense (even sans potting toddler), and a lot of people avoid it.
For some people, it’s just not their style. It can kill their creative drive by taking the fun out finding out what is going to happen next. For others…it’s psychologically and emotionally painful.
Fiction writing is creation, birth, making something out of nothing. Plotting by definition is asking questions and wanting specific answers about that nothing that hasn’t been created yet. An exercise that can cause anxiety, pain and doubt in the creator because…
In the beginning, there are no answers.
In the beginning, there is only chaos.
A chaos not dissimilar from the early stages of potty-training. Both start out with no decerable pattern, no signs of progress or signals that you are even on the right path. Each child potty-trains differently and each writer plots differently. And that’s the sucky part. There is no one way for either task. No guidepost to lead you successfully were you want to go and reassure you are on the right path.
And that is where determination comes in.
Every time I fall and swear I can’t get up and take my daughter on one more trip to the little toilet or figure out my character’s motivation for lopping off the head of a six headed monster…
And sometimes it hurts. And sometimes it sucks. And sometimes I feel stupid for even trying.
But I do it any way.
A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.
And you know why?
Because. yesterday, my daughter started telling me when she needed to go potty.
Because my plot is starting to come together and feel whole and interesting.
Because a rhinoceros can become a unicorn. The rhinoceros’s just has to want it bad enough.