Friday, March 12, 2010

Line 21

I have a dual alarm clock.

Which is to say I first wake up in the morning somewhere between four and four thirty in the morning. Then a little while later, I wake up for good at five thirty. In between, I fluctuate between the real world and world of dreams.

Bear with me on this as there is a point to be had.

During that fluctuation, I often have moments of true clarity about the various people, situations and things that make up my day-to-day existence on this blue marble. Doesn't matter what the issue may be, because more often than not, I can come up with anywhere from a partial to a complete solution to the issue at hand.

As of late, the fluctuations have been about writing, specifically, my blog and the unfinished novel that I started last summer. I managed to solve the blog issue by rearranging my posting schedule (see here as to why), and as for the unfinished novel, I decided to put that on the shelf, simply because what I have to write next for it (a wake, a eulogy, a suicide and tying up all the loose ends), involves the type of emotional investment that I simply don't have the stomach for at the moment.

Enter my personal fluctuation zone.

While I was thinking about what to write for my other blog one early Saturday morning, I had a story idea pop into my head. The idea was about a woman who needed to raise money to pay off a debt. It wasn't much to go on, so I spent the rest of that Saturday turning the idea over in my head trying to come up with a way to make it plausible.

Come Sunday morning, specifically, Super Bowl Sunday, I had a moment of true clarity. How clear was it? When I finally woke up that morning, not only did I have a way to make it plausible, but I had an entire outline mentally written from beginning to end.

After I got done doing the blog thing, I got busy writing the story. The first thing that I came up with was the title of the story, which is the title of this post. The way I came up with the title was pretty simple. That particular weekend, I was doing my taxes, and on the 1040, line 21 is where you would put other earned income that doesn't fit anywhere else on the front.

Once I got the title, the rest of the story started pouring out in big chunks (at least 1K per day). As we speak, I am currently sitting at 31K for a word count, with another 19K at the very least to go. I did mention on my Facebook page what the story was about, which generated a few interesting comments from Ms. WW, and now I feel comfortable enough to clue everyone else in on what it is that's got me excited about writing for the first time in four and half years.

1) The basic idea was that a woman needed to earn money because she was in debt. The plot: Jeannie Mitchell is behind on her payments to her loan shark, and her uncle had graciously agreed to give her a six day extension to come up with the $2,000 so as to make herself current. She meets a man in the park who works for a movie production company. By the end of the day, Ms. Mitchell has decided to get a job in the adult movie industry.

2) Sub plot 1: Jeannie has a symbiont named Aissa (pronounced "Eye-sha") who is her sister/confidant/guardian in this little shindig, who helps her confront her hesitancy and self doubt. She talks to her either in her mind or face-to-face via a reflection in a mirror.

3) Sub plot 2: Jeannie hooked up with the proverbial boy-next-door, who hasn't a clue on what Jeannie has decided to work at/for.

4) Sub plot 3: Since Jeannie is able to talk to Aissa either in her mind or face-to-face, and Aissa vice versa, I decided to through a swerve into the mix by having Aissa change places with Jeannie, so that she might experience a littl of what Jeannie is experiencing.

5) Now, most of you may think that it is virtually impossible to write a story about a woman becoming an adult movie actress and showing exactly what it is that she's doing, without becoming sexually explicit with the details (see here for a bad example). Guess what gang, I did just that. I managed to write three movie scenes that goes into normal detail about what's involved, without being sexually explicit about it. I approached each scene as a basic movie shoot and wrote it from that viewpoint.

6) Language: because I chose not to become sexually explicit/graphic with the content (but if/when I can land a agent/publisher who may want that, everything can be easily fixed with a good re-write), I had to tidy up the language to a certain degree. For instance, instead of using the typical noun to describe a woman's butt, I used the word "butt". I also toned down the overall language in the story, so that not every three sentences is being planted with the proverbial F-bomb.

Right now as of the day of this post, I am in the home stretch. I managed to peak out at Wednesday, so now I'm working on the second day of the movie shoot (Thursday), with the climax (no pun intended) set for Friday evening, when Jeannie has to meet up with uncle and pay him off. Plus, I have to resolve not only the issue with her potential new boyfriend, Geoff, but also with her symbiont Aissa.

So my friends, this is my current writing project, and for a change of pace, it acknowledges both the economic realities of the day, and the personal mores of the individual who has to make that difficult choice in living with the economic realities of the day.

And just for ha-ha's, here is a question for you: When do you have your moments of true clarity? Do they come in the wee hours of the morning, or do they come during your personal down time?


  1. G: That's interesting because I do the same thing and experience the same thing every morning (although not nearly as early.) My moments of true clarity, though, are during moments of uninterrupted downtime, which are rare.

  2. Sounds like you've really enjoyed working on this story, G. I love when you get a flash of inspiration like that - it's so fun.

    My little moments of clarity occur just BEFORE sleep. I'm a night owl by nature and my mind is clearer at night. And others will come when I'm doing the most mundane things - vacuuming or something. I think those occur because my mind isn't on anything at all at those times.

    And this is funny - my word verification is "waken" - I kid you not! lol!

  3. Sounds great Georgie! I can tell you are really excited about this project!

    Erm I get my true moments of clarity on the loo and brushing my teeth. :D And driving. But not all at the same time.

  4. My clarity usually comes on the toilet but somehow the sound of flushing water makes me forget.

  5. Wow, good work for being on such a roll!!!

    True clarity? Umm, what's that? Ha, kidding, sorta.

    I guess the closest times I come to clarity are during long runs. Sweat and pavement and watching things fly by.

  6. How Wonderful! I'm so glad you are back on track and the words are flowing again. When it's right, it's right. I know that "between" wake up time you speak of, sometimes I have all the world problems solved but forget to write them down. :)Bea

  7. R.K: The wake up time is about the norm for me. I haven't used an alarm clock since '94. When my wife was working, she often had to get up around 4a. When she woke up, I woke up. After a while, it just became automatic.

    Normal clarity for me often happens during my weekly walks around town.

    Talon: Isn't it though? The last time I really experienced something like this, was when I went on that flash fiction kick last year, when I wrote about 15 stories in about a month or so.

    That is interesting that you would find your moments just before you go to sleep. Trying to find a way to relax the body without going ga-ga is always an adventure.

    Joe: Thanks. This is the first time in quite a while that I've become this gung-ho about a story. Even during my work hours, I'm often occupying my mind by thinking about specific tangents I need to go with the story.

    I think we all get moments of clarity while on the loo. I think its somewhat universal. :D

    Driving? I used to have moments of clarity...just after I came back from a mental break and try to figure how I got to where I was.

    Bearman: Cute. :D

    T1G: Howdy do young lady!

    It's great being on this kind of a roll, because even when I have to nuke a few paragraphs because they don't fit, I don't get stuck. I simply take a moment, and pick up the current idea and run with it.

    That's sounds about normal for running. You can get into such a zone that it enables you to really empty your mind and think about things that you normally wouldn't be able to.

    Bea: Thanks. It's great to be on a track like this. For the past few months it seemed that I was pressing too much with my writing, which is why I put the other story aside, so it's great when I can write a story without forcing myself too much.

  8. I'm a walker, and that's when the true clarity happens. Either talking things out with whoever I'm with, or just by walking and getting away from the writing at hand, making emotional space for the writing conflicts to work themselves out as I take a break.

  9. I do quite a bit of thinking while I walk as well, and I agree, sometimes just stepping away from something (writing and the ordinary hassles of the day) and going for a stroll can really help clear the mind.

    But most of the time when I walk, I try to let my surroundings occupy the space between my ears. Makes things quite interesting to say the least, and I usually come home in better spirits and a lighter mood.

  10. Wow, that's exciting! It's so cool when creativity really gets flowing.

    My moments of creative genius always happen as I'm falling asleep, and I invariably remember almost nothing the next morning, except the feeling that I missed something fantastic. That being said, my best insights come from sleeping on things. I do my problem-solving in my sleep, and wake up with a new perspective.

  11. I do have my moments sometimes, and as of late, they've been far betwee.

    I think to a certain degree we are always creative when we sleep. The trick is to remember what it was that we were creating to begin with.

    I find that in addition to having moments of true clarity in the wee hours of the morning, I also have a tendency to analyze things during those same hours, usually due to the fact that a multitude of hours have passed and I can look at things with a clearer head.

  12. Good for you. I'm reading a book right now that the main character was raped and the author didn't at all describe the act itself but you still felt the experience the character went through. Understand those early morning musings. Wish sometimes though I could shut my brain off till a better hour. hehe

  13. Jeanne: So far it's been pretty straight forward with the previous non-descriptive graphic sex scenes, but the real challenge is coming up fast. I have a pivotal (and rather long) scene that needs to be written in the most non-descriptive graphic way possible, because it is key to the ending of the story.

    Which I was able to come up with, courtesy of one of those early morning musings.

  14. Moments of clarity and inspiration come during sleepless hours. So often I wake in the morning and slap my forehead for not getting up and writing down my thoughts.

  15. Been there and still do that to a certain degree....frustrating, isn't it?


  16. Once in a blue moon I awaken with an answer much needed- I think your subconscious does the work for you sometimes-
    I've even written songs in my sleep! (Not too bad, either)

    But I'm much better at execution of deeds after work, while awake- not early when needing tea n still not awake. Forms? No errors if not rushed, Before work I hate doing those things- cause knowing have to get going messes with my concentration.

    Sometimes on the highway get a great light bulb, n can't get it down cause I'm driving! I do need a portable voice recoder handy to not foget new tunes.

  17. Snaggle: Nice.

    Never really thought about doing music while sleeping, but I suppose anything is possible.

    I actually can understand doing things after working an overnight shift, simply because you're still filled with a ton of energy and it takes time to decompress before going to bed.

  18. I usually get those moments of clarity when I should be sleeping around midnight. I love that you share your writing process with us. It helps many of us aspiring writers trying to figure out this whole thing.

  19. And I'm very glad to share it with everyone. I figure that the more open I am about what makes me tick and how it makes me tick, the less that people will look at strangely while taking those proverbial steps backwards.


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