A good flogging

Ever had one of those days where nothing goes right? Your alarm doesn’t go off. You’re late for work. Your car won’t start. You hit traffic. You curse. Then curse some more. You miss a deadline or forget your homework. Your washing machine breaks flooding your laundry room. Dinner burns. Your kids are sick. Your dog is filthy and just trampled through your clean living room. And then you get lectured for not doing something to perfection.

Yeah, you know exactly what those days are about. Those are the days you just want to curl in a ball and have a good cry or flip off the world and take a temporary hiatus from everything and everyone.

I’ve had a few of those the last couple months. I’ve been sick and taking care of sick ones in my family. I’ve received more than a handful of “polite and promising” rejection letters (if there is such a thing). And the writing has been manic…and then non-existent…and then manic again.

Catherine Lanigan author of “Romancing the Stone” and “Writing the Great American Romance Novel” says that writing Act II of a novel is about character strength and growth. She states that Act I is about establishing status quo for the hero and heroine and then shaking it up a bit. Act II is for challenges and conflict.

Great romance novel. Great movie. Loads of conflict, remember?

Lanigan states that the solution for a book without that dreaded sagging middle is, “…to throw more crisis at the hero and heroine than perhaps you even had thought possible. If the heroine is not being flogged by life, circumstances, and those around her, the story will plod…Just when things can’t get any worse, they do.”

Even though it’s hard to remember at the time, those days when I feel like I’m being flogged by the world, I’m being challenged. I’m learning. I’m getting stronger. And you are too. Each rejection is strengthening my craft and getting me closer to my dream agent….at least that’s my positive-self talking.

But her statement sure makes me wonder about those people who enjoy the status quo all the time…are their lives plodding due to lack of conflict and avoidance of challenges? Hmmm.

I remember the ending to “Romancing the Stone”. (As if I could ever forget.) And I’m sure anyone who prefers their life smooth-sailing, absent of any challenges, would certainly be missing out on the adventure of a lifetime.

It’s good to have those days when everything goes wrong. In fact, those days are necessary; they remind us how great life is when things go blissfully right.


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