Or: How I Fixed My Plot Problem by Locking Myself Out of My House
It was a cold and blustery day this past Saturday. My partner in crime was out doing some procuring of goods (the legal way, sadly), and I was holding down the fort at the secret lair. My faithful sidekick, Scout, and I were investigating some suspicious noises coming from the lair behind us. We tried the backyard first, but no luck. Then I had the brilliant idea to try looking from the patio that comes off of the master bedroom on the second floor. Up the stairs we raced, Scout and I, and out onto the patio. I pulled the door closed behind me to prevent it from blowing open, and there began my troubles.
A little background for you. When we first purchased our secret lair we discovered that the door leading to the balcony had two locks. How did we learn this, you ask? Because my partner in crimed locked himself out on the porch, that's how. The door had a deadbolt and a lock in the handle, but you could still turn the handle from the inside even when it was locked, so we didn't know it was locked. Oh, fine reader, how I laughed at my partner in crime that day. Apparently karma took note.
As soon as the door handle clicked I realized the error of my way. Scout was too busy trying to eat my jalapeno plant to notice, but we were trapped. I had nothing: no cell phone, no computer, no key, no way to get down from the balcony. Nada. We were now pawns in a game of the fates, held prisoner to their whims (and my partner in crime's need for new clothes).
I wallowed in self-pity for a few minutes, huddled against the side of the house trying to lure Scout into my lap to share her body heat. She caught onto my ruse soon enough, though, and made time with a discarded piece of siding. Then I tried walking around in circles for awhile and counting my steps. After about 500, though, I got bored with the counting and maybe a little winded.
And then it hit me. I'd been avoiding editing the first draft of my WIP for months, starting and abandoning several other stories, all the while eyeing my completed manuscript sidelong. But out there on the cold, unforgiving boards of my temporary prison, I knew I had no other choice. With nothing else to distract me, and nowhere to run, I began to mentally revise. And one hour, two thousand footsteps and a few frostbitten toes later, I had a much stronger plotline. In fact, when my partner in crime did finally show up, the first thing I did was race for my laptop to get all of the new ideas down before television stole them from my brain.
So universe, thanks for locking me out on the balcony. You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, a locked door will give you what you need.
And what have I been doing for the past week? Avoiding the implementation of said plot fix. Sigh.