Sorry for the lack of posting recently. My excuses are as follows:
(a) Pregnancy, a.k.a. My Current Excuse for Everything.
(b) Over Memorial Weekend we were at a condo with even less internet access than it usually gets (maybe more people using the bandwidth?). I couldn’t even log in to WordPress.
(c) Before that, we literally spent 25 hours doing nothing but eating, sleeping, and car shopping.
For those who have never experienced buying a “family” car, basically the word of the day is compromise. Weeks and months and years of compromising.
To begin with, I would be okay with a mini-van. They aren’t my favorite thing, but for hauling around kids, they’ve got the best features around. Dave however is vigilantly anti–mini-van. So the very first thing we compromised on was a crossover.
Three summers ago we bought the smallest size of crossover because it was all we could afford. This year, with Kid 3 on the way, it was time to bump up to a mid-sized one.
We researched for weeks and two models seemed the roomiest. Of those, I liked the Chevy Traverse; he liked the latest Honda Pilot. I think the latest Pilots are too boxy; he thinks the Traverse looks too mini-van–shaped.
We compromised on the older model Pilot, which was more affordable anyway.
Then came 25 hours of insanity: going to dealerships to see, touch, smell, size up, sit in, and drive the cars.
Salesman: “So what colors are you thinking?”
Dave and me simultaneously: “Black,” and “Anything but black.”
Thus ensued hours and hours of frustration. We’d find one that I liked but he didn’t, one that he liked that I didn’t, one that the salesman thought we should like that neither of us did, etc, etc.
Finally we hooked up with the world’s greatest car salesman (shout out to Brandon at Ken Garff Honda, downtown SLC!) who patiently pulled up a list of every silver 2007 Pilot EX from Ogden to Orem (an hour north of Salt Lake and an hour south) and showed us the computer screen.
The minute we saw it, we both got zapped.
Dave looked at me and said, “Whoa. Did you feel that?” I swear we both became teary-eyed we were so relieved. We’d finally found the right car and we knew it instantly. And our fantastic salesman drove up to Ogden himself to get it for us.
Moral of the story: when there’s bound to be a “right” choice eventually, you just have to keep looking until it zaps you with its perfection.
Settling is not an option.
And of course, the same thing applies to writing a novel. Laugh all you want, but I’ve noticed that even though I’m the author, often the story seems to have a mind of its own simply because I can tell when I’m headed the right direction and when I’m not.
The right path is full of awesome zaps where story elements click into place so fantastickly that you type with absolute giddiness.
The wrong path is full of dead ends and crap shoots, and you type with the depressing certainty that you will eventually be rewriting that whole section.
Plus also (as my younger sister would say), the right path is found through compromise. I loved the blue Pilot, Dave loved the black ones, but silver turned out to be our best choice.
My neighbor Shannon Hale told me how in one of her books her editor wanted her to take out a certain character because he didn’t really serve any purpose in the novel.
Having read that book of hers, I was shocked. “How could she want you to take him out? He was so key to the story and one of my favorite characters!”
She laughed and said it was thanks to her editor pointing it out that he became that way. Shannon didn’t feel right about taking him out, so she compromised by giving him a purpose, making him an integral part of the plot.
It satisfied her, her editor, and even me as a reader: a perfect resolution.
What fantastic zaps of rightness have you had? Do you think there’s always such a thing as a “best” choice if you keep looking long enough?