Daruma 1

The Daruma Doll

Back in the last week of July, I was certain that my first post after August First Impressions was going to be an explanation of why I gave up on my WIP, BRANEWORLD.

I was about 35k into the story, and I was stuck. I hadn’t written any new words in a week, and I didn’t see any reason to keep struggling with it. Plus, I was feeling low and missing my husband, who was on a 2-week business trip to Japan. That’s the longest we’ve been separated since we met 22 years ago.

Bob was a big supporter of this story, so when he got home at the beginning of August, I broke the news to him. BRANEWORLD was dead. To talk it over, Bob escorted me to the place where we conduct our most serious discussions: the hot tub, with martinis.

I explained my three reasons for giving up:

1. The science in the story was flawed

2. The plot holes were insurmountable

3. The characters were lifeless and uninteresting

Bob suggested another reason:

4. I was psyching myself out about writing the first book un-related to the Eighth Day series since 2011 – and also the first since I quit my teaching job.

Picture it: Romantic moonlight and stars, warm water, vodka martinis (straight up with olives), reunited after a long 2 weeks – and we decided to spend the evening exploring string theory.

Talking it over with my husband I realized:

1. The science was more plausible than I thought it was. It has basis in real theory.

2. Explaining the plot holes to Bob helped me to think up solutions to them.

“But I’ve never had this much trouble bringing characters to life,” I said.

“Yes, you have,” Bob reminded me. “We’ve had this conversation before.”

He was right. When I went back and looked in my 2011 blog file, I discovered I’d even written about it in a post called D.O.A. (A good reason to blog: It’s like a diary.) I came close to abandoning that story too, but instead I re-cast some of the characters and started over. It’s now one of my favorite manuscripts.

He was also right about me psyching myself out. In 2012, I told everyone that the urban fantasy I was writing was WAY outside my comfort zone and I would probably never finish it. Three urban fantasies later, the Eighth Day world IS my comfort zone, and I’m scared to leave it.

So,  I did not give up on BRANEWORLD, and I’ve added 4k more words so far. I accept its flaws.

Leandra Wallace recently shared this quote with me:

I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box

so that later I can build castles. ~Shannon Hale

And I also saw this on Cynthia’s blog, Read is the New Black:

“There’s no such thing as writer’s block. It’s just that you’re editing too early.”

~ Stephen Chbosky

One of the gifts Bob brought me from Japan is a Daruma Doll. According to Wikipedia: Daruma dolls are seen as a symbol of perseverance and good luck, making them a popular gift of encouragement.

The eyes of the Daruma are blank white, with no pupil. The receiver of the doll is supposed to fill in one pupil on setting a goal – and the other pupil on meeting it. The Daruma, looking a little off-balance with just one pupil, is supposed to bring me luck and remind me of my goal every day.

Thank you, Bob. I set my goal – completing a manuscript (revised,polished, and worthy of showing to my agent) that is not part of the Eighth Day series. It might be BRANEWORLD – and I hope it is – or it might be something else.

Until this is accomplished, Daruma will remind me.

Daruma 2