Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bathroom Epiphanies, Part Deux -- Jay

Two days ago, I had another one of those wonderful, magical, bathroom experiences.

There I was, standing at the sink, styling my facial hair. I’d just finished using the #3 clippers to trim my goatee and was working on shaving away everything around it…without disturbing the sideburns, of course. All of a sudden (which is how most epiphanies come to me), I figured out the ending to my next teen novel. And that is a beautiful thing.

A few months ago, when I turned in the outline to my editor, it was nine pages long. But here was my description for how everything in the story wrapped up:

I...DON’T...KNOW!!!
(But I’m kind of excited to find out.)

For some reason, my editor let me get away with that. For some reason? No…cuz she’s awesome!

Anyway, up until a couple days ago, I was moving at a snail’s pace when it came to writing my first draft. I would sit down at my desk to write, but it just wouldn’t flow. So I’d go to Linnaea’s CafĂ© to write, but that didn’t work either. I even checked myself into a hotel once, but wound up watching a lot of television cuz we don’t have one of those beautiful things at my house.

But now? Now it’s flowin', baby! It’s flowing like a [insert perfect analogy here]...if you know what I mean.

Originally, I didn’t think I needed to know exactly how things ended in order to get a handle on my story. But knowing the ending, oddly enough, has helped me better understand the scenes I’m writing right now that will eventually lead to the ending. Because if the ending is inevitable (as all endings should be…but without being predictable), the only thing that makes it that way is how your characters grow throughout the rest of the story. And "the rest of the story" is what I’m writing now.

In a way, it’s similar to playing God (which I haven't done since getting kicked out of Sunday School, by the way). Our characters will seem totally unrealistic unless it appears they’re acting upon their own freewill. And yet, we are ultimately in control and know how everything ends up.

Unless, of course, this bathroom epiphany turns out the same way as my first bathroom epiphany. The original ending of Thirteen Reasons Why was completely different than the one you’ll end up reading in less than three months.

- Jay

14 comments:

O'Donovan said...

Bathroom epiphanies=greatest writing moments in the world.

I wish I could grow facial hair, because hair-washing ephiphanies are truly, dreadfully inconvenient. The soapiness. The slipping on the mat. The illegibility of the scrawled note, due to damp spots.

LindaBudz said...

MIne tend to be just-as-I'm-drifting-off-to-sleep epiphanies (which then keep me up half the night, of course).

Now I'm curious as to the "original" ending for 13. You'll have to share that someday!

Rilla said...

The bathroom...sigh...the most underplayed room in the house and yet the only one associated with the word EUREKA! Yup, them bathroom epiphanies been happening at least since the time of Archimedes...and sure is the place I've gotten many of my ideas...though their value has yet to be seen and none of them had to do with the removal of facial hair ;0
As for the I-Don't-Know syndrome. The neat thing is, is that even as you wrote those words to your editor, you were certain that someday you would know how your story would end and so did she...and both of you were right -- CONGRATULATIONS!
Just wondering, with Robin and Eve having silver dress issues...does your silver dress fit ?

Colorado Writer said...

YES!
Yes!
yes!

I'm soooo glad for you!

LA Baby!

Kelly Fineman said...

Showers and solo car drives are the best epiphany-inducers, apart from those instants just before sleep hits.

And I'm going with "flowing like a lactating mother's milk next to a crying baby." Or is that too graphic?

See you in LA.

Disco Mermaids said...

O'd - I'd suggest drying off first!

L.B. - Only Robin has read that ending. She was my first critiquer and nixed that ending immediately. And she made me promise to never show it to anyone if I ever want to be taken seriously as a writer.

R - I will be dressing as a man this year...but that doesn't mean I'm not nervous about what I'm wearing.

C.W. - LA baby!

K.F. - Almost.

- Jay

cynjay said...

Whoo Hoo! The next time you're plucking nose hairs would you please concentrate on my WIP - I could really use a killer ending sometime soon.

Disco Mermaids said...

Jay, I think that since The Ending That Shall Never Be Spoken Of Again occurred as an epiphany in the shower, I have faith that This Ending Which Happened While Styling Facial Hair is going to be a winner.

And Rilla, even though Jay will not be joining us us in a dress this year, I have a feeling he'll be showing even more skin than usual.

So we all have THAT to look forward to. Woohoo!

-Robin

Rilla said...

Whoah! Can't wait!

Emily Jiang said...

CONGRATS on the ending epiphany! Endings are so difficult, and that's so great that you have yours figured out so early!

Anonymous said...

that is SO cool---bathrooms are inspiring. =9
i thought of my new (one page) intro to SEA at midnight while i was doing the dishes i think--the whole thing (two paragraphs) just popped into my head. there's certainly something to be said for 'sitting on things' for awhile. arr arr.
see ya in la!!

*heidi

tammi said...

So, um, can I come over and use your bathroom??

Disco Mermaids said...

My costume isn't that revealing. (But just in case it reveals more than I remember--it's a rental--I have been seen at the gym more often than usual lately.)

And sure, Tammi, you can hang out in our bathroom at the conference hotel this weekend. Though, be warned. With Eve and Robin's stuff all over, there won't be much room.

- Jay

Lisa Graff said...

Ha! That is the best way to end an outline EVER. I'm going to have to try that...