I Reckon I’m A Downton Junkie

I’ll be watching Downton Abbey on repeat until the end of the month. I have yet to see Season 3 so you know what I’ll be doing in March. Yep. Watching Season 3 on a never-ending loop. That’s just what I do.

Most people don’t get my viewing habits so let me s’plain.

I prefer movies and shows to the radio. Maybe it’s the visual stimulation and I can escape out of my head for a few minutes or perhaps it’s the constant susurrus in the background and my brain picks up bits and pieces of conversations that are interesting. If I can’t work in a coffee shop, it’s the next best thing. At any given time my brain can pick up where I am in the story and follow right along. I’m not distracted with a new story or have to divert attention and brain power to follow what’s happening.

I’ve seemed to have adopted Season 1&2 of D.A. as my writing companion for February’s novel. I don’t know why, the novel’s a Western so surely Maverick or The Quick and the Dead would be more appropriate but I just can’t stop watching the drama unfold in Downton.

I have to say, though, that it has done wonders for my “Must Research” list. Before now I’d be blowing through details, either blatantly disregarding their authenticity and anachronistic qualities. Now I have a running list. I still include such details but I’ve made a note to double check and make sure they had indoor plumbing back then and what about the social constraints for unaccompanied women. And how did they go shopping? Surely department stores were still a thing of the future…

Lately I’ve been coming across articles and blog posts about not neglecting details- one for food (in this month’s edition of The Writer) and the other for clothes (courtesy of Vikki from The View Outside). I’ve kept it in mind but does it ever slow me down!

I feel like my story is dragging on but I think I’m okay as long as the little cursor keeps marching across my screen pooping out letters and words. Perhaps this is quite accurate and my work is a pile of well, you know. Maybe it isn’t. And maybe it’s a ambergris- upon first look you’d kick it to the gutter but let it mellow and it may turn into something very appealing.

As I’ve worked through the beginning part, I’ve noticed scenes and themes have been repeated between last month’s work and this month’s novel. My characters seem to be pretty close to the same age and within similar social positions. I certainly didn’t mean for that to happen but that also means there will be similar themes and comparable challenges for them to face. I struggled with the idea that I’m a Young Adult fiction writer my first year of this project and I’m more comfortable with that idea now but it means I have to do research s to what exactly this genre encompasses. Otherwise I fear I’ll just continue writing the same story with different characters.

This Western is the first of a trilogy and the first trilogy I’ve attempted. I’m a little flummoxed at the moment about what’s going to happen. I’m 10,326 words in as of tonight (roughly 27 single-spaced pages) and I don’t think I’ve established the main challenge for the novel. I can’t think of what it might be. I know the ending for this novel (I’ve never planned that far ahead EVER) and I know the story lines for the next two books, which I’m still stunned about, but I don’t know how this epic situation comes about. Is it common for the catalyst to be so difficult to pinpoint? Or did I take a wrong turn somewhere yesterday when I started the novel? 

this is a total re-write of the Western last year; in fact, it’s pretty much a completely different story line. Only the characters have stayed, and not even all of them. Other characters are brand new. I know I’ll figure out what happens this week and hopefully I’ll be able to find the time to sit down and correct what I’ve already written before next weekend’s writing marathon. I was hoping to end the weekend with at least 15,000 words but I’m stumped now. After hours of writing blindly, I think I’ve hit a dead end. So, I took a nap and after waking, still uninspired, I took the afternoon off to give my little brain a chance to rest.

This week I’ll be working on my research for he story so it won’t be shuttled completely out of my head but I’m not going to force myself to work on it if I can’t come up with something right away. I’m confident by Thursday evening, though, I’ll have things sorted, out; these sticky points always seem to have an eleventh-hour solution.

It’s been a lot of fun, these writing retreat weekends and I seem to be getting a little better with the Internet. I’m still caving but certainly not as much as the first weekend. Now if only my brain will come up with a super-awesome solution to my conundrum.

Until then, I’ll be watching Downton Abbey with perhaps a side of Dear Frankie or Clue or The Saint or… My brain needs some comfort entertainment and when this is the case, my fingers automatically go to one of a select few movies. But for right now I think it’s time for a bath and a few minutes in bed with a good book before calling it a night.

When you need to zone out and escape from living in your head (i.e. nonstop thinking) what do you do?