I have dogs. Anyone who knows me knows that much. I have quite a few dogs. I have inside dogs and outside dogs. I even have a couple of cats who THINK they are dogs. As a result, I know a lot about washing dogs. Big dogs, little dogs, long haired dogs and short haired dogs - you name it, I can wash it. The key to washing any dog is submission. You have to convince him (or her) that he WANTS a bath. And failing that, you have to wrestle him into submission.
My writing these days is a lot like washing a reluctant dog. I have all of my supplies in order, everything is lined up - hose, nozzle, buckets, soap, flea shampoo, towels. In writing once you have your basic plot, your characters, your setting and an idea of how the story goes you're as ready as a dog washer with a full tub and a handful of soap. And THAT is where the trouble begins. Because, horror of horror, your book has become A RELUCTANT DOG !
No matter what you do, no matter how hard you coax, wheedle, wrestle and demand your story simply refuses to get in the tub! Worse, sometimes it shimmies and shakes like a Vegas show girl until you lose your grip on it and end up chasing it from one end of the dog run to the other while the hose snakes around and soaks you and everything else in sight EXCEPT what you want it to soak - the DOG! Your words and ideas and plot threads scatter and roll around like bottles of shampoo after two large dogs decide to chase each other all over your bathing equipment splashing muddy water all over you AND the heretofore clean towels.
What do you do? You clean up, turn off the water, give the two large dogs (AKA The Idiot Brothers) your most ferocious glare and decide to start over. This time with something a bit smaller.
Lets say you can't wrestle the entire book at once. Lets say you decide to tackle something smaller, like a scene, aka a small dog. Seems simple, right? What could possibly go wrong? You're a writer. You can handle one small scene. Yeah, right. I'm a former veterinary technician (five years experience in an animal ER) and I even ran a humane society shelter for a year. And all it takes to whoop my butt and leave me a wet sopping mess spitting out flea shampoo suds and chasing a small dog all over the house with a towel is the IDEA that I can take on one twelve pound chihuahua. Wrong! I'd rather wrestle a ticked off alligator in a Louisiana swamp than bathe the "Dog from Hell" as my brothers call my chihuahua, Frodo.
The only thing that can whoop my butt faster is trying to write a scene when nothing and nobody in the entire scenario wants to cooperate. I mean, it is bad when the furniture in the scene refuses to cooperate. I put my hero and my heroine in a room together, furnish it and...NOTHING. They stand there like a couple of dachshunds looking at a tub full of nice warm water and say "You want me to go in THERE?" My hero and heroine stare at the bed with those same pitiful expressions and nothing I do can convince them to cooperate.
So, what do you do when your story turns into a reluctant dog? What happens when your carefully plotted out story turns on you and runs like a big blond retriever mix with the IQ of a block of wood the minute you turn on the hose? How do you wrestle it into submission? And once you do are you so worn out you forgot why you wanted it in the tub in the first place?
Any and all suggestions, war stories and just plain horror stories are appreciated. Now, if you'll excuse me I'm either going to wash my hero with flea soap or put my heroine alone in a room with a twelve pound chihuahua and a hose and see what happens.