Tuesday, May 29, 2012
It is amazing to me just how many decisions the average person makes in a day. I use 'average" because that is what I consider myself. I got to work, deal with my family, make time for myself (reading, writing, blogging, playing games, watching TV), pay my bills, clean house (sometimes), take care of the yard (if forced). So many things in a typical day.
Like many of you, my first decision of the day (work day) starts with whether I hit the snooze button once (or twice) or get out of bed when it goes off (even if I'm already awake). Next is how long a shower to take (to shave my legs/underarms or not), and then its on too what to wear. Nope, my decision never includes a dress. How many of you Guys out there don't even consider wearing a tie, let alone a suit jacket or belt? Then there's the decision to eat (toast or frozen waffle) or wait to send my co-worker for Taco Bell later, and finally the most important decision I'll make in the morning.
Do I turn on the computer and check e-mail/blog or do I make it to work on time?
Once I get to work you'd think the decisions there would be pretty easy because I'm mostly in charge of what I do when. Really though, are your work decisions easy?
My "calendar" is filled in by the screeners, but I did pick the days (Tues/Thurs) and time (1p) that I take intake interviews. I also have a number of report type items that have to be completed by a certain deadline to keep the cash aid and food stamps issuing on time for on-going cases, or to grant benefits for new clients (intakes). I even get to make the decision on whether I take an "emergency appointment" or pass it on to another co-worker. But yeah, within certain limits, its my decision what paper to process when, whether I return a phone call or not, or when I complete any number of related tasks that need done sometime within the month.
Once the work day is done, I still have to decide if I want to stop by the grocery store or not, cook or not, what to cook, and how I'm going to spend the evening before going to bed.
As fellow writers, I'm sure this is a decision that is dear to your hearts also. Mine involve whether spend the evening reading (a beta read or published novel), to create a blog post or read other blogs, do I respond to all my comments or just visit the bloggers sites, write on a new project, WiP, or edit/revise something I've abandoned. Do I use my netbook and sit in the comfy chair in front of the big screen TV, or go to my "office" and use the desktop so nobody disturbs me while I
play games, uh write/blog/research.
Do I have one more glass of wine, or should I get to bed the same day I got up?
Right now I'm questioning my decision not to replace the screen in my bedroom that the cat uses as pet door. It took her a long time to work the hole just big enough for her to slip in and out. Mostly, she sits with her head out, but she's still inside. She worries one day she'll go out and I'll never let her back in; a valid worry, let me tell you. But, she's not partial to a litter box, and that's a decision on her part I'm grateful for . .
If we're doing our job as a writer correctly, then our characters are faced with just as many decisions to face and resolve by the end of the story. These decisions drive the story and character plots, and are probably a cause of much frustration for the writer.
You may be contentedly writing along, developing your world, your characters, and all the dilemmas that make the concept interesting to the reader; when suddenly a character balks at a decision. They waffle, debating the merits of this way or that, and the consequences, may even bring to the writer's attention that certain decisions early in the story development - or later at the climax - are either out of character, or just plain not gonna work.
I don't know about you, but sometimes I have to sit down and write out both sides of the decision just to figure out where I (they) need to go for overall satisfaction. Oh, if only real life decisions could be handled so easily *sighs*
Meanwhile, our characters are hanging out doing the virtual equivalent of toe tapping (or planning how they can get away with murdering their author) while the writer decides if he/she is willing to accomplish all the revision Decision A calls for, or if we'd just like to mosey along for a while and see where not making a decision gets us.
At some point in every fictional novel/short story, a character MUST make a decision about a love interest. (Exception: Alex Cavanaugh's CassaStar, but I have it on good authority that the reader feedback on that creative decision met with SOME resistance.which caused a decision for a romantic element in the sequel CassaFire.) Sure, the protagonist (or antagonist) may waffle back and forth as they internalize the merits of both the love interest, and the life changing effects that accepting love will have on their life (or schemes), but eventually, the love relationship must have a resolution.
Or does it? Sequel anyone . .
We can all be forgiven for being a little indecisive at important moments- but seriously- make your mind up! Get over it! Move on! Aren't you sick of being such an equivocator?
Who's an equivocator? You, your hero, your heroine? Get writing. I'm sure it'll come to you if you'll just stop being so indecisive!