Sitting here, two days after Thanksgiving, I took a deep breath and looked around the living room. My husband in his work clothes, with a three day scruff and enthralled by something on his computer; two dogs are passed out in front of the fire and one is wandering around looking for a Frisbee, all of them illuminated by the sun shining through the windows.
There are no chores to do, at least nothing that needs immediate attention, and no errands to run. It’s a slow day—a lazy day—rare and beautiful in its simplicity, almost difficult to embrace with the frenetic pull of Black Friday sales coaxing you out of the house and into the slow slog of four-wheel and two-leg traffic everywhere you go. You feel like you should be doing something, and yet…
We gave thanks for what we had on Thursday, yet still we rush out to buy more on Friday. Some folks even lined up late Thursday night to grab those precious gifts while still sluggish from their gorging. Seriously, where are those vomitoriums when you need one? Is the holiday buying rush a bad thing? Not for me to say, that’s your life, your decision, but it does strike my funny bone…or my irony bone (don’t ask me the location, I haven’t a clue).
This post isn’t about wagging a finger at consumerism, though; it’s about knowing when to take some time for yourself, to be still, to be present with no To Do lists dancing in your head, to take stock of who you are, and the love and joy you have around you. Spouse, significant other, family, friends, dogs, cats, hedgehogs, whoever enriches your life, those are to be treasured and held close.
And how does this pertain to writing? Our characters need to have the same chance to stop, take stock of what’s happening. Sequel is the name used for this moment, this pause in the action to regroup, reassess the next move, and it’s a crucial part of your story. Even in a fast-paced adventure, the characters must have downtime, and in that time, they have to decide what truly matters to them. It is in those pivotal scenes that you find the emotion, the heart of the story. Action, emotion. Scene, sequel. They are paired together to give your plot movement, each playing off of the other, fueling each other and pushing your story to the end.
So, as in life and love and even story, you need look around and see, be in the moment. Do that for your characters, do that for yourself, especially during the holidays when the pace of life seems so frantic and emotions are fraught. And when you find yourself twisted in knots, remember…slow down, and just breathe.
May your words flow freely,
The Zodiac Assassins series
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Gemini Asunder Book 3 coming Fall 2019