Leave it to beaver

River Muse

I’ve reached the point in writing where nothing seems to work. My lead character is not being particularly helpful and the supporting characters aren’t behaving much better. Instead of moving the story along with smart insights and quick wit, Leah is meandering, talking too much, accomplishing too little and refusing to find a believable resolution to the current plot twist. Evan, the new publisher, is not working out. I may have to let him go.  Miguel seems somewhat off his game, and other minor players also seem to have lost their way. Clearly I have allowed my characters to lead me onto roads that are best left untraveled.

Unfortunately, there is no GPS for rerouting literary detours. As a result I’ve been hung up on the same chapter for more than a week, trying to get things headed in the right direction. My only comfort is the memory of being in a very similar position while working on my first book in the Leah Nash series. I found my way out of plot tangles by taking a break, and engaging in some river watching. I decided to apply the same method again.

The beaver I spotted last week playing on the ice swam back and forth in front of my window all morning. The river is open now, thanks to unseasonably warm temperatures, so he’s had nowhere nearby to land. A flock of diving ducks, mergansers, has been doing what looks like well choreographed water ballet, criss-crossing each other, diving sometimes in unison, sometimes solo, moving all the while in a widening pattern that has taken them from one side of the river to the other. This afternoon a huge flock of geese (I stopped counting at 100) zoomed in for a mass water landing and then at some secret signal all began honking and flapping their way back into the air, headed somewhere up river.

There’s an amazing variety of wildlife on the river, right within the city limits. I’ve captured photos of eagles, herons, egrets, otters, turtles, muskrats, woodchucks, five varieties of ducks, and multiple species of birds, and it’s very easy to pass the time just looking out the window. I recently put some of the photos together in a story book for Quinn, my grand-niece. It was a fun project and easy to do, much easier than writing a murder mystery. If you like you can check it out by clicking this link.

And so now I’m hoping that the beaver will become my new muse. The theory is that while I’m focused on watching him and his river neighbors, my unconscious will be busily sorting out my writing challenges. The next time I sit down with the intention of seriously moving ahead, all systems will be go. In the meantime I think I’ll catch a few more sunsets.



On leaving your comfort zone


This one’s for you, Aunt Helen

1 Comment

  1. Julie

    How blessed you are to have a great distraction outside your window. I remember when these conundrums would happen in the office. That’s when the “team” was called. At least you knew what not to do when the meeting was done.

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