I was thinking about a scene in one of my favorite 80’s movies, Real Genius starring Val Kilmer (for those who have seen or might remember). The story is about a bunch of genius kids at a prep-college. Val plays the lead who’s gone on to buck the system and is teaching the young newbie how to ‘ungeek’. In this particular scene, in which I am referring to, it’s a montage of everyone cramming for end of the year exams. One student in particular (an extra) stands up from the study hall table and just yells. He is just freaking out and runs from the room. Everyone else takes a brief moment to look– at him as he has his ‘meltdown’, and returns to their studies–unfazed.
Lately, I feel like that poor kid. It’s what I call brain overload. Sometimes we just get to the point where everything we are focusing on just overwhelms us to the point nothing makes sense–no matter how many angles you try and approach the problem. The other day I had that moment . . . with my story.
Yes, the one thing I usually find joy in (my escape if you will) became a torment. I’m not published so there is no deadline (other than my own) so what is the problem? My problem is this story, a paranormal romance, has haunted me for five years. I’ve tried it in various stages, even finished the first draft three years ago and went on to a sequel and plotted out two more for the series. I thought I had it made. But every contest, critique I’ve had on it came up lacking–so I revised it, not once but twice. I put it to the side while I worked on a ghost story/romance last year but once that was finished my heart went back to the paranormal.
When I presented it to my critique group (whom I trust and value their insight implicitly) it confused them since they knew I could write better. There were so many things wrong with it. So I went home and started fresh. Two months later . . . still nothing. So I thought maybe using plotting guides a friend of mine sent me would help. Traditionally, I’m a pants-er . . . not a plotter.
I haven’t sat down to actually plot. I realized going over everything again was just mind boggling–and so the ‘meltdown’ this past week. I’m taking a few weeks off and stepping away from the books and writing to see if I can ‘reboot’ my brain. I don’t want my favorite pastime to become a dreaded reality. Not a good thing for a creative mind. 😛
So instead, I’ve decided (as I’m writing this post) I am going to work on my house (God knows I’ve neglected my duties as a domestic engineer lately), catch up on my ‘to read pile’ and see if the worksheets my friend sent me on plotting/GMC will help guide me from being a total pants-er to a plotter, too.
What do you do to ‘reboot’ when your brain is fried?