Saturday, December 02, 2023

Life Happening

 I'm really, really late today but I want to post because I missed my last Friday. I was busy with my day job (teaching at university) and lost track of the schedule. Today I wanted to get a post up. Except last night, I felt a small jab of pain in my eye. It was gone in a second, but it was in the same eye that I saw an ophthalmologist about back in spring. My GP referred me when I called her about the bloodshot eye had seen when I happened to glance in the mirror I was passing. He determined that I had a fairly common broken vein in my eye. It looked and sounded scary, but it wasn't painful and would probably resolve itself. 

He could see my eyes were dry and asked if I had ever been told that. I said I but I hadn't used artificial tears since the wave of recalls of contaminated eye drops.  Even though my artificial tears had not been among the brand or type of drop in the several recalls, I had been spooked enough to stop using them. We agreed it might be safe to start again. But this morning I woke up with both eyes itching and I forgot about my post because I was busy getting my dog to daycare and then calling for an appointment to see what's happening. After I'd gotten in for Monday, I turned to emails I needed to respond to and then picking up dog and feeding pets and self and responding to more emails and I'm finally here now.

I had intended to write a longer post about the topic my Type M colleagues were discussing recently -- muddled middles. I've been dealing with that, too. It isn't usually a problem that paralyzes me for long periods as I'm writing because I'm a plotter. But this time I'm writing a historical thriller and trying to plunge in and see where it gone. With that in mind, I have focused on the characters and their goals and motivations rather than extensive outlining. That worked until I got to the middle and realized I wasn't sure where to insert my parallel murder investigation by my Albany police detectives happening in the months leading up to the presidential election in their present. Their "present" because my two Albany books were set in the alternate near-future when I wrote them, but now are in the recent past. In their present a presidential election is approaching and in the first book I had Howard Miller, a character who turned out to bear a striking resemblance to one of the real-world candidates that we all now know too well. In Book 2, people connected to him had McCabe and her family under surveillance because her father is a retired journalist and had been doing some research on the candidate's activities. In my third book --when I get to it -- I intend to deal with that, but meanwhile I want to use the characters as the investigators of the murder in my historical thriller.

I think I may have mentioned this complex structure before. But I didn't realize last time I mentioned how difficult it would be to deal with the "muddled middle" when I can literally flip a coin to decide when a scene should appear. Knowing that has slowed me down to a crawl. I have gone back to my preferred method of outlining and that has taken me down a path that didn't occur to me when I was attempting to write faster. 

I'm just hoping that whatever is happening with my eyes is no more serious than an allergy or something I've been using on my face. I want to get my pile of term papers read and grades submitted and then settle into summer writing. By then I should have outlined enough to find my way out of my maze.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

1 comment:

Anna Chapman said...

Frankie, I hope your eye situation resolves itself easily. So pesky for a writer who also has an academic workload! More power to you for being able to fall back on your tried-and-true method of working. I had to smile at your story line somersaulting over itself from its future to its past. But I'm sure you'll manage.