I suffer from a complete lack of diligence. I’m on my editor’s schedule for April and the WIP I want to send her is less than 50% done. I can’t track my plot, keep track of my characters or figure out the ending. And I’m pissed off about it. No, I’m whining about it, completely different thing.

I started with big plans–an outline to keep me going the right direction, interesting characters with deep flaws that would impede their desires and make it hard to reach their goals, a fast-moving plot based on real-world issues that concern me. So what happened?

For starters, it’s hard(boo-hoo)to work at home. Maybe you deal with similar problems. Someone always wants food. I can and will make my son and husband prepare it themselves when(always)I’m deep in the weeds, but someone(me)needs to buy it. Laundry magically piles up and someone(me)needs to get it done. The dog needs a walk- or two-or three-and someone(me)has to take her.

If it sounds like I’m whining, you’d be right. I’m a big fat whiner, complainer, shirker and overall poor-me type of girl. If an excuse will do, I’ll make it. If a lie will suffice, listen up. If covering my ass with multiple layers of BS will make you believe I meant to finish that chapter, pick up your feet or you’ll step in it.

Characters have goals and desires which are often thwarted by internal and external forces working to deny them. Regardless of the obstacles, though, the characters most often overcome, and realize their goal. The journey and how they feel about it afterward is what makes the story either work for you or not.

If a writer(me)used a character like(me)in a novel, that character would be the one labeled TSTL(too stupid to live)and would disappoint, then disappear, in the first 25% of the story. She’s the one you wish was dead, and when she is, you’re happy about it, her neuroses and character flaws,(usually what makes characters interesting)so deadly dull you wonder why the writer included her in the first place.

Maybe though, the writer included her because she’s the hook, or even better, the inciting incident, the reason the story takes off in the direction it does. Ever think of that? Me either. In fact, I’m thinking of a story using that neurotic, annoying character as a jumping off point. She’ll fall(or be pushed)off a cliff and the Main Character will travel the remaining story trying to find out who and why(we know why–she was neurotic and annoying). Internal and external forces will try to keep the character from his or her goal, but in books, the main character’s job is to overcome the conflict and experience growth and change at the end of it all.

I suppose life it like that too. I strive to overcome internal(today it’s story structure) and external(the dog needs another walk)conflict in the desire to reach my goal(finished 1st draft).

I have to get out of the house to work on it though. There’s less distraction at a busy Starbucks. And no washing machine.

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