I’m in the middle of a rewrite for Book Three of the White Forest series. Last week I wrote a whiny note to a few of my author buddies that said right now I hate book three. okay, hate is a strong word. but it sucks, it sucks, it sucks. I’m stuck in the middle of my rewrite. it’s so different from my original vision that I can’t follow my outline any longer. i’m procrastinating working on it. i want to work on anything else. bleh.
My friend Sara wrote back and said You’re going through SPLAT!
I laughed and had to agree. “Splat” was a term used by one of our screenwriting instructors Stewart Stern when Sara and I were in the University of Washington screenwriting program together. He actually borrowed the idea from a B.C. Cartoon strip in which one of the characters had to go through a big SPLAT in one panel to get to the last panel of the cartoon.
We learned that there is no getting around splat. Splat is where our characters have to go because only on the other side of it will they find redemption. Sure, they could turn around and walk away. You can try to make it easier for them. But the story will suffer for it (or you’ll have a tragedy on your hands if splat swallows your MC alive).
We humans live through our own splats, big and small. When we want to get that degree, start that career, repair that relationship, make that life change we have to go through splat to get there. We have to face our fears, doubts, and whatever else stands in our way that is uncomfortable, messy, painful, or scary.
When our characters come up against splat, and they are standing on the edge of choice, staring at IT, what do we have them do? Do we have them turn around and walk away? No, we want a more satisfying resolution.
Do you see that same satisfaction after propelling yourself through your own life’s splats? Some days I take splat head on, other days I can only dip in a toe. But I know, I know the other side is a much more interesting place.