My husband seems to believe that I have a record with put-off-till-tomorrow syndrome. He says he remembers college, and me sitting up half the night, bent over a textbook, performing a last minute stuffing on facts. But---shhhhh--I remember him breaking open his Statistics book the night before the final...
What happens when you yourself, a writer of books and proud, self-declared "Seat of Your Pants Plotter" find that inspiration has failed you? The seat of those pants has worn through, or something.
I'm accustomed to being led (grabbed by the throat) by my characters, who are usually chatty and full of stories about themselves and their friends and relations, but what if they wander off and fall down a rabbit hole?
Far too many have been doing this to me lately. They start off with a conversation which really seems to be going somewhere, but suddenly, as if someone filled their 18th Century teacups with many, many drops of Laudanum, they fall back senseless upon the appliqued cushions of the settee, or, more likely, just vanish down a dark hallway of the rambling manor which belongs to their uncle, the sixteenth Earl of Whatever, and never return.
Afterward, no matter how often I attempt to recontact them--offering them dinner parties, glorious, thundering steeplechases, or handsome sweethearts, late night trysts in the Earl's topiary gardens or witty dialogue in Regency Ballrooms, they refuse to come out and share their stories with me.
This has been happening for the last year or so. It's annoying, really, when all the chatter just stops, because up till now I've been able to rely on my characters supplying entire story lines. Or to put it another way, the thread I've been following in the labyrinth breaks and there I am, left alone in the dark.
I can't lay this at the paws of the two cats who vie for which one can jump the most frequently on my forearms while I am attempting to create.
(Lizzie, who really knew how to cuddle on my forearms in such a way that I could still type.)
Schuyler in full meatloaf
But this cat-blaming is a deflection, a writer's cop-out.
Facts are: I've gotta get this heroine I've been imagining back to work. Perhaps a long absent relative from the East India Company--or maybe from the equally exotic, violent world of plantation Jamaica--needs to show up, in order stir the pot, and pique my young character's interest. I'll even go back to the drawing board of a re-write if that's what it takes to get the seat sewn on my plotting pants again.
Fellow fiction writers: Please be so good as to let me know if you have any tricks up your sleeves. (Pretty please?)