Just put a month’s worth of sonnets in the recycling bin. Shoved them down deep too, in case the trash hauler has an eye for that sort of thing. 30 sonnets written over 25 days or so. For my eyes only–that’s what kept me going.

Ron’s challenge came at a good time for me as I’ve been between projects. I’m now getting ready to return to a novel I set aside several months ago. I’m looking forward to working on this story again, but I’m also tentative about jumping back in. I’ve been circling the novel for a few days now, doing some offstage work on it to help haul the story back from the depths. The first thing I did was simply list the scenes in order, best I could remember. Then I did some short sketches of the characters as I remembered them. I also rewrote dialogue for a number of scenes and did a couple of chapters in a different POV. Indulged in a few dream sequences. Made some maps of important locations. Wrote a couple of sonnets about the story.

Then I reread the thing. It was interesting to see where the exercises diverged from the manuscript. That’s one of the things I love about offstage work–it dredges up the stuff that I keep tamping down because I get so focused on what I think will happen next.

I’m headed to the nearby campus library now to write. I plan to set aside the 100 pages I wrote last winter and start fresh. If the going gets tough I know I can always step away and make a list or draw a map or conjure a dream sequence. Maybe write a sonnet. For my eyes only, of course.