Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Return of the Sheep

Guardian: Welcome back to the writer's brain. I thought I wouldn't be seeing you again.

Sheep #1: We like it here.

Sheep #2: It's comfy.

Sheep #3: And there's food.

Guardian: But you're just standing there. Flocking. Why aren't you continuing along the road? I know the end of your journey is up at the top of that mountain on the horizon.

Sheep: #1: That's an awfully long way. Our hooves will get scuffed.

Sheep #2: We've very proud of our appearance. Scuffed hooves are humiliating.

Guardian: That's what's stopping you from moving? The fear of scuffed hooves?

Sheep #1: No, of course not. That was an example of our dry wit.

Sheep #2: We're very dry.

Sheep #3: No, it's the writer. She's in the middle. Look that way. (points delicately to the left) See that mountain? That was the beginning of the plot. We've been there.

Sheep #1: We've got tee shirts.

Sheep #2: That mountain over there (points gracefully to the right) is the end.

Sheep #3: This valley? This verdant, lush valley with plenty of grass and wonderful trees affording dappled shade? This, my friend is the middle. However...look out!

Sheep #1: Damn.

Guardian: What is it?

Sheep #1: Mud puddle. There's mud everywhere. That's the irony of the middle. The hidden menace, if you will. It's so easy to get stuck.

Guardian: Is that the writer's problem right now?

Sheep #1: When you're in the middle you can start to see the end, which is encouraging, of course. She's been wanting to get to the end for a long time. But then she's realizing all the things which must be accomplished in the middle. Look!

Guardian: It's another tree affording dappled shade. That's new.

Sheep #2: The writer has just remembered another step she has to take with one of the sub-plots. There's a myriad of sub-plots.

Sheep #3: We could be here a while.

Guardian: But look over there! If you continue through this valley and head toward the foot of End Mountain there appears to be a cooling pond.

Sheep #1: It does look pleasant.

Sheep #2: And refreshing.

Sheep #3: Okay, we'll keep going. Time to get through the middle and get to the end. The end. I've heard it's a wonderful place.

Guardian: I'll see you there.

Sheep #1: Don't forget the tee shirts.


  1. Elspeth - Ah, yes....the "past the first hurdles but not near the end yet" blues. Those sheep, those sheep, those sheep! For what it's worth, I think we all get to that point when we write. I know I have. What helps me to get out of that mud and move on is to take it one event/scene/plot point at a time. What's the next thing that a character will say? Ok, write that. Ok, what does the other character say in response? Good.

    I find if I take it in small steps, I'e moved along more quickly than I thought I would. Just my US$.02

  2. I'm edging ever closer to End Mountain. We passed a grove of trees over the weekend and a tiny mud puddle yesterday. Today the mountain is more massive and so close I can almost reach out and touch it. Almost. You'll get there, too.

  3. I LOVE your story! What a creative analogy of "the process!" Kudos, Elspeth!

  4. Margot; Thanks so much for the very good reminder that is all about one step at a time.

    Carol; How wonderful that you're almost there! Are there cookies? Somedays that mountain seems very far away.

    Crystal: Thanks so much for your kind words! I must admit, I giggled when I read it over for the first time.

  5. Exceptionally clever and imaginitive dialog, Elspeth!

    Marvin D Wilson

  6. Oh my goodness, Elspeth, you are so funny! I love the sheep, and I love how your guardian is dealing with them. Great writerly post!

  7. What a funny post. I love the sheep!


  8. Old Silly; Coming from you that means a great deal. Thank you, Old Silly.

    Alan; Thaaaanks.

    Patricia; I try. I'm glad it amused. It was fun to write.

    Ann; I love them too. I'm sure they'll show up again.

  9. And you sometimes think you're no good at writing? Silly you. That was simply delightful.


  10. Ha! What a great/fun/clever post! The end is a beautiful place, but hard to reach and it seems to keep moving!

    Cheers, Jill

  11. Elisa; As are you, my dear.

    Jill; Thanks! And you're so right about the ending. It's crafty.

  12. The muddy middle! I love it. :) Keeping our sights on the end is a good idea for staying motivated.

    Mystery Writing is Murder
    Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen

  13. Elspeth, don't be sheepish about that muddy middle. :) Great post!


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