Writing Problem #492 — Is the Challenge Too Challenging?

Okay, fellow writers, here’s a problem for you to contemplate: How do you get into a creative project that you’re not really doing for yourself?

I may have bitten off more than I can chew with this snowmobiling story, you see. I’m going to work on it throughout Camp NaNoWriMo this month, and complete the draft, but I’m having some real difficulties in building enthusiasm. I’m out of my usual genre and theme, learning a new colloquial language and trying to figure out how to mesh the ins and outs of the sport with an actual plot. Watching YouTube videos of snowmobilers isn’t terribly helpful, because those are simply footage shot by enthusiasts without a storyline.

I know I previously posted about my plot ideas, but those feel so weak right now . . .

And how do I spread out a day’s riding through a 50,000 word novel?

I’m contemplating starting off with the protagonist’s typical morning, dealing with family and home life and so on, and then building to the part I already have with my MC splitting away from his buddies. But I like how it starts with action, establishing the setting and the first problem — his friend’s attraction to his girlfriend — so I’m considering flashbacks instead. Maybe splitting the snowmobiling with bits about how his day started off.

He could have a GoPro on his helmet and he sees a crime take place, gets it on camera, before his machine crashes through the ice.

But what crime? Could be a cabin being broken into, or poachers . . . A chase would ensue.

It doesn’t help that I’m feeling exhausted again. It’s hard to think of ideas and put them into action when you’re wiped out. I really ought to go through the writing exercises I gave my students to do from the NaNo YWP handbook, but I also have work priorities of overdue marking, planning, and my other edits to complete for my coming release. If I had a power bar on my forehead, it would be red and in its last 1/8 segment. My gas needle is hovering over “E”. If I attempted to juice up with fresh coffee, I’d get the shakes.

The forecast for tonight and tomorrow is for freezing rain, followed by rain mixed with snow. I’m not sure how I’m feeling about the potential for bus cancellations. On the one hand, it would be good to have the day to be productive and catch up on things. On the other, it’s already a short week and I still have things to do with my students that really need to get done — some are redoing tests that they’d failed a few weeks ago, some need help to catch up on their blogs, and some need encouragement with their independent reading.

It would make me so happy to sleep for two or three days in a row. Just sleep. Wake up feeling refreshed and energized and focused, instead of sensing the hamster wheel under my feet.

Spring is coming. Think positive. Going to bed before midnight tonight is a plus. Everyone is healthy. Elizabeth is well-fed and shedding nicely. Skittles is fat and affectionate. House is warm. Okay, since I seem to be sinking into random sentence fragments, I should probably just post this and crawl into bed . . .

Good night, everybody. Wednesday is done.

They like it! They really like it! (It = the snowmobiling story)

goodnewseveryoneI showed my struggling / reluctant readers what I have so far on their snowmobiling story, and they loved it! They especially liked the dialogue about going to get beer — apparently I nailed it. And when I related the anecdote to the administrator, she said, laughingly, “You know what’s really scary? That you can get inside the head of a sixteen-year-old!”

Made me feel pretty good, I have to admit. But it’s only just starting. They gave me some great slang to use in the story, and explained how to drive a snowmobile. Also suggested that I look up videos on YouTube (why didn’t I┬áthink of that?) I promised them dialogue tonight, more movement in the plot, and I haven’t done anything yet. Plus I’m still working on the video that wraps up the 24 Hour Playwriting Challenge, and I brought home marking and I haven’t taken it out of the bag . . .

So I’ll keep this post short, I think. Get the video done, and go to bed early for once. Busy day tomorrow: my daughter has her final skating show practice after school.