Time and the Fragile Character

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You’re a writer. You know how it is.
The time to write…when is the right time to write? Now? Nope, busy reading this post. When you finish this post? Maybe. But, if you’re like me, there are a million other things to do. More important things. Scrub the toilets. Sort the recycling. You know, I’ve been meaning to seriously detail my Barcalounger.

And so, there the project sits. The characters have all gone speechless…nothing to say because you’re busily sorting the soup cans in the kitchen. Arranging the forks just so in the silverware drawer.

Life can be so crazily hectic that it becomes nearly impossible to cleave out the time to work on a project. And yet…and yet…maybe not so, grasshopper.

There is another agent in the mix…something to which you and I should pay attention. You won’t like it.

Once upon a time, a motivational speaker said that everybody’s tired. Tired of this, of that. Too tired to make a change. But, she said, what if I gave you a hundred thousand dollars of mad money? Then you wouldn’t be so tired, would you? You’d feel fresh and vibrant, alive with joie de vivre.

So, it ain’t the tireds. It’s the motivations.

That book gathering dust on your word processor? It ain’t the lack o’ time, me bucko. It’s the lack of motivation.

Well, jeepers Mr. Monkeypants. How do I fix that?

Good question, Sullivan.

Abuse some characters. Chop ’em up, or blow ’em up. Or make them say things so horrific that their world is forever altered.

Does it mess up your story line? Oh, heck yeah. Does it mess up the whole book?

“No,” Mr. Monkeypants says firmly, “your book was already messed up. That’s why you were busily knitting underwear for the pet salamander you were thinking about renting. That’s why counting the holes in the colander is more appealing that working.

Your. Book. Stinks.

It stinks so badly that even you, yes you, don’t want to put energy into it.

Admit it. Face it. Fix it.

Kill somebody. Blow something up. Sink the ship, burn down the house, turn Uncle Ray into a zombie. Ch-ch-change it.

Challenge your characters and you challenge yourself.

And if your book is so boring that you’d rather sort socks than write it, you need a good stiff challenge.

The time is there…are you?

Okay. I’m, like totally out of breath after writing that stuff. How about you?

You’re not writing your book because you’re reading this post.

So, I’m not working on DROPPINGTON PLACE because I’m writing this post. My bad.

Promise me you’ll do something to spark interest in your work.

Thank you. Now I have to figure out which guy to kill in my book!

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Author: John Reinhart

Technical writer John Reinhart says his mission is to get his readers excited about the possibilities of and wonders of planetary science. A happily married father of three from Ventura, CA, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Cal State Chico, has taught college courses, and is working on his second novel.

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