Monday, October 24, 2011

And The Diagnosis Is Writer's Block...

or, is it procrastination?

My dad used to say, "Shannon, you spend more time trying to figure out how to get out of doing something, than actually doing it." Ha! He's right.

I have a book to write. The characters are constantly talking to me. "Tell our story!" I dream about them. They are in my head. They are just as real to me, as my family and friends. So, I try to write their story. I write a few scenes, and I start thinking, "Wow, I've got it! Here's what's going to happen."

Yeah, well, a couple of days go by, and I start thinking that maybe my ideas weren't so good after all. So, I pray and think and get busy with another manuscript. Eventually, these 2 particular characters start talking to me, again. I do research on the current idea, and start writing. Then, I start doubting, again. Y'all see a pattern?

Here's what's funny, and a bit nerdy; I love doing research for my books. I've gotten pretty good at googling. My story takes place somewhere around 1896-1900, so I look up stuff about the Spanish American War. I looked up shipping. I read about clipper ships and steam ships. I read about polio, which BTW was called a lot of things back then, including Infantile Paralysis. I read about Yellow Fever, life on the streets of New York City, the cattle industries back then, medical practices, nursing, women's rights and the lack thereof, immigration, gangs, gold strikes in Alaska, P. T. Barnum's circus, involuntary servitude aboard ship…you name it, and i've researched it. And, still, I'm not sure.

So, what does my first sentence of this post have to do with research? Well, see, I've done so much research, that now I'm confused on what to make happen to my characters.

I ask them, "Hey, why can you two be together?"

The answer I get surprises me.

"Because," she says, "he's married."

I'm like, "Do what?" I mean, I can't write a Christian book like that!

So, I ask them, "What would it take to bring you both to a place where you can trust fully in God?"

The answer does not come easy.

One character says, "I ain't needed a man yet, and I'll never need one. I can do anything I set my mind to do. Sure, my folks taught me about Jesus, but I don't think He will forgive me, this time; I've really messed up."

My other character says, "Where was God when I needed Him the most? I mean, sure I was taught about Him, and I believe He exists, but in order to be good enough, there are things I have to do, first. As for the woman I love, she'd never look twice, if she knew where I came from."

Deed, faithful readers, y'all need to pray, cause I just don't know where this book is going to go. To the gold fields of Alaska? To the high seas during a war? Back home to the ranch and praying loved ones? I don't know.

Tell you something else I don't know, too; I don't know where the man came from or how bad it was. I don't know what it's going to take to get these two together. I'm absolutely stumped.

Any thoughts? Questions? Comments? Ideas? :) Y'all wanna hear about the gold fields in Alaska? How about overcoming temptations of the flesh? Do you think Christian books ought to include characters making bad choices in a moment of weakness? Does anyone even want to read this book? :D Feel free to comment or drop me an email at
would love to hear from y'all.

Goodnight and see you on Wednesday.

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