Setting: In my head. Enter Me and Ms. Nitpick. Ms. Neurotic is already in the room, lying on the couch surrounded by old pizza boxes, used Kleenexes, and empty Cheetos bags.
Me: I really need to write something.
Nitpick: You have many choices. You need an ending for Meira’s story. You need a beginning for Thorn’s story. You have no idea what Acorn’s story is doing. The plot structure of Butterfly Chaos is a straight line that ends by getting sucked up in a tornado. You can’t market any of these!
Distraction (leaps into room): You know what would be awesome? If you revised each of your novels in the space of one month! I bet you could do that!
Me: Oookay. Hey, what if I fixed up the beginning of Thorn’s story and sent that out? That sounds manageable.
Neurotic (wailing from the sofa): IT’S IMPOSSIBLE, THERE’S NOT ENOUGH TIME, REVISING THAT NOVEL WILL BE SUCH A HUGE TASK.
Me: But it’s only 40 pages I need to fix ….
Nitpick: Thorn’s novel actually has three beginnings, and all of the beginnings are fighting against each other. Plus you have this weird half-chapter, and I don’t even know where you are going with that.
Me: Well, geez, I can cut that ….
Neurotic: IT’S IMPOSSIBLE, THE TASK IS TOO GREAT.
Distraction: Hey, what if you updated your Facebook status using this awesome Ginsberg quote? Everybody would read it and be so impressed! Because it’s funny!
Me: Um ….
Distraction: Then write a bunch of random Tweets about your chickens!
Me: No, I need to stay off the internet and use my time constructively.
Distraction: Ha ha! Now that’s funny!
Nitpick: Why can’t you be like Lauren Oliver, who wrote Before I Fall while she was a full-time student with two jobs? She’d write paragraphs on her phone while in the bathroom or on the subway and fit in her work wherever she could. You should do that. Why can’t you be like Mandy Hubbard, who agents and writes stuff all over the house and manages her time like a pro? You should totally do that.
Me: Well, I’ll revise those 40 pages ….
Neurotic: THERE ARE SO MANY PAGES. IT’S IMPOSSIBLE.
Me: I have, like, three chapters here.
Neurotic: SOOOOO MANY PAGES.
Nitpick: You shouldn’t revise those pages – you need to completely rewrite them. That means you have to come up with a whole new beginning.
Distraction: You know what you really need to do? Clean the house.
Me: Look, guys, I have a few minutes right now. I have my notebook right here. I need to work on this novel.
Distraction: And then when you publish the novel, you’ll win the Printz and then you’ll have to write a speech for all the nice librarians! I wonder if they’d let you play a Queensryche song when you walk to the podium? That would be freaking awesome.
Neurotic: YOUR NOVEL WOULD BE DISQUALIFIED FOR EXCESSIVE EXCLAMATION MARK USAGE.
Me: Okay, that’s enough! Go away and let me work.
Nitpick: I already told you that none of these beginnings work.
Distraction (messing around on internet): What!! Queensryche broke up?? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Neurotic: WHAT DID I TELL YOU, IT’S IMPOSSIBLE, WHY EVEN TRY?
Nitpick: What’s with all the comma splices, anyway?
… And this is why I have not written anything lately.