Last week, I picked up a project I last worked on in 2005--yes, nine years ago. It's a novel, a screwball comedy. I already had outline and in 2005, it appears, I was laying flesh on those bones.
I had invented (I guess) two co-workers for my heroine, and a bunch of At-Risk students for her improv class. The writing snapped and sizzled on the page. The characters are all complicated and unexpected. They're all very real, in the midst of the pacing of a screwball comedy. I like them all, and I care deeply about the kids, who are profoundly troubled, (as they should be.)
And then, Page 94. The draft ends. What happens next? What was I doing with those intriguing teenaged characters? What about my heroine's colleagues? I know my heroine's plot outline, more or less, but what happens to the rest of them?
I have no idea. I made them up, nine years ago, put them on the page in an interesting way, and then, I can't remember if I switched to working on another project or I got pregnant and was too tired to write, or I was too busy chasing my Turbo Child, or what. All I know is that I have no idea. Nor do I know where I did the research that makes these kids and their improv class (taught by my heroine) come leaping off the page.
What do I do now?
And why can't remember writing them? I wasn't possessed, I don't have amnesia. I am not losing my mind, so far as I know. What a fascinating thing, the creative process. I must have read something stunning about teaching At Risk Kids improvisational theater, and I just poured them onto the page, leaving no traces of them on my brain nine years later.
Has anybody else had the same experience?