Sudden Inspirations

I posted recently about some writer’s block adjacent concerns, wherein I have a chapter that I’m unsatisfied with and consider unfinished but have decided to attempt moving on with the next chapter anyway.

It’s difficult for me to do. What happens is what happens, but only after it happens. Until it happens, it hasn’t happened yet. So if it hasn’t happened, how can I be sure what happens next?

(I am reminded of at least one exchange, somewhere in the massive multimedia catalog of Doctor Who, where a companion — possibly Ace, maybe another of Seven’s companions — discovers the Doctor goes back after an adventure and seeds the arena with helpful things for when he shows up in the future past, and she says “That’s cheating!” and the Doctor points out that when his past self lived through the adventure he is currently tweaking the difficulty settings for, his current self had not yet done so and his past self had no way of knowing that he ever would, and in fact if he had failed in said adventure he might not now be alive to do so.)

So anyway. I tried moving on, even got about 90 words of the next chapter written (honestly closer to 500, but most were deleted and rewritten and redeleted and on and on).

And then I despaired over it for a day or two, and then I woke up in the middle of the night with a sudden burst of inspiration for that broken chapter I tried to skip. And, of course, it does change what would come next, so if I had written that next chapter I’d be faced with the choice of scrapping the written chapter or the new inspiration. Can’t keep both, they’re incompatible.

So. Hurray for the mental process, I guess. It’s a frustrating way to live.

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