Something challenged me last Friday. Well, that’s probably an understatement. It actually brought out the worst in me. I’m pressuring myself to meet a self-imposed deadline. I flew into a snit and ultimately stomped away from my desk, banging the door shut behind me. Making matters worse, I’d forgotten that L was at school, and I had no diversion. The truth stared at me, waiting for recognition; I looked for distractions to help me ignore it. Would I acknowledge the truth, or continue giving expression to my inner brat? I don’t allow L to behave that way, so I had to either give myself a timeout or be a grownup.

What flipped the ‘losin’ it’ switch? It became clear that I had to modify the outline and storyboard. I hadn’t fully exploited the dramatic irony in the story; it should have more suspense. The protagonists suppose that the antagonists are up to A, when they are really up to B. Then the antagonists do something that confirms they are up to B, and the protagonists go full bore to stop them. Meanwhile, the antagonists discover that they should really be up to A, and immediately change direction. The protagonists are still in hot pursuit, trying to prevent them from doing B. It’s not until the climax of the story that the protagonists realize that the antagonists are really up to A. Then – as it should – everything hits the fan.

What’s the problem with that? Not a thing – except that the irony needs to be more explicitly detailed. I’ve got to add more story from the antagonists’ perspectives – which means more outline and storyboard entries. It also means modifying some of what’s already there, to seamlessly silkscreen it in. That’s the crux of it – the reason for my mini-meltdown on Friday. Admitting to a problem means having to fix it, and I’m already short on working hours. The end of the year is almost here, and I’ve only completed the outline and storyboard up to chapter seven of twenty-one. Decision time. Is my loyalty to the schedule or to the story?

Of course, it has to be to the story. It will be harder to meet my goal of being done by the end of the year – but telling the best possible story is always the only thing to do. Nobody turns into a pumpkin if I’m not done by then. It was a goal I set myself. If I miss it, I’ll use what I’ve learned to make a better plan for next time. From behaving badly on Friday to having my priorities in order and well into making the changes by Monday. That’s progress. Just so you know, I’m still aiming for the deadline!

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Update: Someone asked if ‘inner brat’ should have been ‘inner bitch’. Naw – no real ‘attitude’ there; picture ten year old self being whiney and throwing a tantrum. :)D

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