Not tonight, dear. I have a headache.

I wrote a whopping 522 words on my novel last night week. Yeah, week. It took a whole seven days to get down two lousy pages. Don’t judge.

I thought about putting a word count widget in the sidebar for motivation. But would it really motivate, or just scream failure? What if Punk put me in the stocks in the town square every time I wasn’t ‘in the mood’?

“Oh, you’re gonna publicly shame me like an angry jerk because I didn’t feel like fooling around. That is so attractive. I really want to spend the next three hours with you. And all of a sudden I have all these creative ideas! Come on, babe. We’re gonna be poetry in motion!”

The Scarlet Letter (1926 film)
The Scarlet Letter (1926 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Or not.

In lieu of the Hester Prynn widget of shame, I’ve elected to write and rewrite one rough scene with every possible outcome I can think of. *

Will she escalate by shouting back at him?
Will she laugh, or cry? Lay down like a doormat, or pull out a gun? Phone a friend? Pack her bags? Light the house on fire, or really get fired up after all?

All of the above.

And every word counts.


*Has anyone done this with a scene that wasn’t in the mood, and did it work?
Was the negative word count worth it in terms of moving the story forward?


4 thoughts on “Not tonight, dear. I have a headache.”

  1. I’ve never written a scene quite like you’re describing with multiple outcomes, but I have certainly gone back and rewritten entire sequences when I felt a different outcome would serve the plot better. In a recent work, I came to a scene and decided that there was no good way to make it interesting unless I completely redid a previous chapter. Of course, I didn’t want to redo that chapter! It was finished and I was sick of seeing the damn thing. So, I proceeded to write the rest of my novel as if the chapter had already been rewritten. By the time I actually had to go back and rewrite it, I wasn’t so sick of it anymore.

    Even in your posts you have an awesome sense of voice, so however slow you go, I really think you’ll be successful.


    1. Thanks for the compliment! You’re very kind, and I like your idea of skipping it and coming back later. Good strategy, and I need to learn it. I have a tendency to go back and correct (and correct, and correct…) every sentence. It might sideline me to leave an entire incorrect chapter!


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