I ADORE Scrivener. I have laid out so much amazing information and research using electronic notecards and such. However, this is the first time the plot of a WIP has really eluded me. I know where I am starting and I pretty much know where I want to end up, but all that glorious stuff in the middle is just a giant puff of smoke and funhouse mirrors. Everywhere I turn, I smack my face into something else but I can't even tell what it is.
Thus begins the odyssey through notecards. With a purple sharpie in hand, I decided to brainstorm some plot elements and slap them down on those little rectangles of doom so I can shuffle them, order them, shred them to bits, or plaster them on the wall—whatever it takes. I just needed to be able to feel those pieces in my hands, to believe that I had some control over them. After a handful of purple-spattered cards hit my blotter, I realized I needed to talk to one of my main characters in more depth.
Out comes the journal. I journal through every book I write. Sometimes it's my own thoughts about the process or pieces of research or little epiphanies. Journaling helps me process my feelings about the work as well as the work itself. Now I've found myself in a sort of psychoanalysis/case history session with this girl and wow! I did not see that coming! Another epiphany lights up the night and a few more notecards hit the desk.
Soon I'll be ready to lay my cards on the table, literally and figuratively, and flesh out the basic gist of this book. I just needed to go hands on in a more substantial way, I guess. To feel something both hard and fragile in my grasp. You might argue that manipulating a mouse our tapping on a keyboard is just as hands on, but trust me. It's different. There is just something primal about bleeding ink on card stock and sound of tearing paper or the sensation of 90-lb pressed cotton between your fingertips.
Thanks to this little excursion, I've just picked up some major character motivation and development, a strong motif, and some direction. There may not be any words on the ticker at the end of this day, but there is progress. Definitely progress.