On Taking a Day Off, with Excerpt

My word count for the day stands at 232 words. For whatever reason, they wouldn’t flow today, even with butt in chair and fingers on keyboard. So what did I do instead? I knitted, I read a good book (which sounds like slacking off, a bit, but really, who can be a good writer who does not read?), and I took all-important naps. I am currently reading Uprooted by Naomi Novik, and I’m about one-quarter into the second half of the audiobook. I am thoroughly invested in the story, and taking small mental notes whenever I run into something particularly well done – which is probably about three or four times a page. Most of the information doesn’t stick consciously, but I have a feeling the influence is still there.

I had a good day today, removed almost completely from the stresses of writing. And it’s been feeling stressful the last day or two. I had a “flu break”, but that’s hardly what I would call leisure time to relax and unwind the brain. I’ve been picking up the mental pieces of the story, but I’m having problems now feeling excited about this particular stretch of story. I plan what I write for the most part – I’m a planner. But certain details only come out when I’m writing, like Euryale’s friend Galenos, who was an unexpected addition to the story a few days ago. He adds flavor, and Lord and Lady know I need more side characters. The problem with this being… When I hit a slow scene like the one I’m working on now, where I need filler but I don’t have any idea what to write… if I skip those slow scenes, I lose details like Galenos. I can always come back, I know. I can fill things in later. But the story loses essential flavor if I don’t add it as I go. This is why I try, try mind you, to write linearly. But sometimes, the way is a little rockier, and I need days off like today.

Here’s a little spoiler-light scene with the aforementioned Galenos.


I was speaking with my friend Galenos about securing the use of several long tables for the feasting again this year when I heard a familiar name and turned to listen.
“…that Chrysanthe and Kallias are to be married at the festival, that’s right. I thought it was a little hasty, but his parents—”
“Euryale? Are you listening?”
I turned back to Galenos, apologetic. “I’m sorry, Galenos. I thought — never mind.”
He eyed me shrewdly. “Jealous it’s not your wedding?”
Damn, I thought. Has everyone in this valley but me heard of Chrysanthe’s plans? “No, that’s not it, I just hadn’t realized there was going to be a wedding at the festival. Someone should have told me. I’m in charge of planning the event.” A small spur of anger pressed into me, and I couldn’t resist adding, “You know, perhaps it’s disrespectful to hold a wedding on Demeter’s feast day. Has anyone talked to Chrysanthe about that?”
Galenos laughed. “You are jealous.” He leaned against the table. It was a warm morning, and he had tied his curly black hair back in a [hairstyle]. “Admit it, you wish it were you and me getting hitched tomorrow.” Galenos had a charming smile, and despite the fact that it had never worked on me yet, he turned it on me again. I rolled my eyes and shoved him lightly, causing him to lose not a bit of his balance. Galenos had a feline grace that worked well with his musicianship and his goals to woo every girl in the valley.
“I think you’re the jealous one, actually. How long did you moon after Chrysanthe?” Thankfully for me, Galenos could be easily distracted.
“Five months,” he said plaintively. “And she wouldn’t give me the time of day. Is it my breath?” He held up a hand to his face, mock-testing for offensive odors. “I think it’s my breath.”
“Your breath is fine, you oaf.”
“Well, in that case,” he said, and leaned toward me, playfully puckering his lips. I rebuffed him easily.
“Come on, I’ve got a lot of work to do before tomorrow.”


Ignore the brackets, of course. Some information just isn’t decided as I’m writing. Usually things related to hairstyle as above, or dress, or what they’re eating. If I stopped to research and decide on every small detail as I wrote, I’d lose the essential flow of the writing. Guess I’ll leave it here for tonight – thank you for reading. 🙂


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