Getting Past Head Jam to Write Better
What do I mean by that?
So, if you’re like me, then you’re writing every single day.
Well… after a certain period of time the mind just gets–clogged! That’s the best way to say it.
You start questioning every sentence, every word choice and you feel like you’re caught in a tornado, swirling and tumbling, around in sameness. Same words. Same this, same that, whimpering, “geesh, can I get ahead???!!!!”
Yeah, so… That’s basically what head jam feels like–for me. Symptoms differ among writers.
I will say that being in California helps. I can just think better here for a multitude of reasons.
But what helps even more is to pick up a solid read by another author.
That’s what I did.
For the last two days I’ve been engrossed in The Girl Who Played With Fire. I tried to read The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo a while ago but couldn’t get past the first chapter. So the other day, you know, I cheated and watched the movie on On Demand. And I have to say, casting Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist was the determining factor in helping me decide whether or not to move on to the next book.
I spent TWO frustrating days of reading a book with a fascinating character that’s written both densely and repetitively. Let me tell you, when I reached the end I was mentally drained. I mean, I had to visually edit the book as I read forward because the content just kept going in circles with information we already knew! And why did he have all those conversations between law enforcement when we already knew Lisbeth Salander (one of the greatest characters ever) and Mikael Blomkvist were going to solve the murders anyway! That’s the formula for these stories! Your protags solves the murders!!!! So, why in the WORLD…. And OMG, did he have to give us pages of backstory every time we were introduced to a new character? Even the insignificant ones?????
Yet, I stayed up until 5:30AM trying to finish that dang book on my Kindle.
He struck gold when he created Lisbeth Salander. I’m not sure I’m going on to the next book. Heck, I just read the plot details on Wikipedia instead and it’s feeling like that sufficeth for now. Because I read the sample on Amazon and, dude… More of that dense writing right off the back. As you know, I like to move forward and fast.
Anyway so, yeah, reading that book un-clogged my head jam. All ports are open! And I met Lisbeth Salander in the process! You know what. I do like that character. That’s what hooked me into book two. It started off with her being abused in a mental hospital and then we saw her (expositionally of course) on an island in the Bahamas where she save a woman’s life. This is exposition that I can’t hate because it endeared me to Lisbeth even more. She’s not annoying. We can trust her. She’s strong physically but comes in a little package. She’s super smart–for real. She’s as he calls her in the book–over and over and over and over again–a moralist. She’s cool and calm and under control. She knows when and when not to speak. And she’s heck-a complicated. She’s a writer’s wet dream (male or female writer).
Anyway, I grieve Stieg Larrson’s passing 🙁 He was so young and gosh, he’d just accomplished a feat greater than that of Dr. Frankenstein! Could you imagine how much more of Lisbeth Salander he had in him. And, I think, in the end, when Salander grew up, left being a girl to become a woman, she and Blomkvist would’ve totally made a go at it. I think that’s where Larrson was going with this. If I did a critical analysis of what he thought about women, then for sure, in his mind, Salander will not be as beautiful and ripe as Erika Berger until she grows up and mature both physically and emotionally.
You know what????
It’s so funny that when a man writes a female protagonist, she’s older, wiser, keen and beautiful–and she’s sexy and self-assured. She’s not in her early twenties or a teenager and “hot” to all the guys. Women write those characters–the latter ones, the almost pubescent, dependent and beautiful to all the guys but somehow they don’t think they’re beautiful female protagonists.
Just a thought.
Anyway–I’m back at the writing table tomorrow. Hoping to finish this first draft by the middle of next month. That is my goal!
Peace and Goodnight!
(and excuse any major typos, I’ll try to fix them tomorrow. Going to bed.)