Friday, January 27, 2012

Has this ever happened to you?

Photo source

Imagine this is the view from my car, as I drive home on a recent Thursday evening from work.  It's 9:20 pm (yes, sometimes I work until 9 pm), there's no one around, and I drive slowly across a bridge, heading south on a major road. I'm listening to a CD.

Okay, okay, it's a CD of Mozart piano concertos.  Yes, I'm a nerd. Don't judge me (hey, they say Mozart is good for the brain).

I have the volume cranked up.  I'm thinking about my current MG novel.  To me, an important part of writing is mulling over my WIP.  Ideas usually come to me in the car, or in the shower, or when I least expect it.   But it's all part of the process.

In my MG novel, the rough draft of which is a complete mess, I know something is missing, and on my lonely drive home it hits me like a collision: the protagonist isn't solving the mystery near the end; it merely unfolds in front of him.  I need to rewrite those last two chapters and make him more involved in piecing together those final clues.

And then -- flashing lights behind me!  Agghh!

Photo source


According to the very nice officer who stopped me,  apparently I "failed to come to a complete stop at the stop sign before the bridge."

Thankfully, he let me off with a warning.

Has this ever happened to you?  Have you ever been so caught up in thinking through your WIP -- or listening to a stirring piece of music -- that you, uh, got pulled over?  Did you get a ticket?  'Fess up!

16 comments:

  1. Oh yeah....I got pulled over for speeding. AND I had my daughter with me. We were on our way home from dance, it was late, I was totally focused on getting her home and forgot about the speed limit change just as we approach town. I remembered as soon as I saw the police lights..... Got a ticket.

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    1. Aw, sorry, Deb! I was lucky to get off with a warning. But yeah, it's hard to focus on driving when you're focusing on something else. And driving should come first!

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  2. I try not to think about my novels while driving. I save that for running. The worst I can do then is trip or step in something I wish I hadn't (darn lazy dog owners).

    Sorry about the ticket!

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    1. Hi, Stina. Clearly, I need to start running. Except for that part about stepping in what the dogs leave behind. Yuck!

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  3. I never got pulled over because of this, but I know what you're talking about. I love it when I get into this state, floating inside my novel's own consciousness.

    Katia

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    1. You're lucky, Katia. Just be careful if you're in that state while driving! I would take Stina's advice and start running.

      And yes, normally I love being in that "zone" with a novel.

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  4. Why do you think I bike or walk to work?

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  5. One time I TOTALLY could've gotten pulled over, but thankfully didn't. I had a HUGE breakthrough on my WIP, so I got out the pen and notepad I always keep in my car.... and proceeded to scribble notes against my steering wheel while driving. What, there was nowhere to pull over! *Hangs head in shame.*

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    1. Wow, Donna! I'm amazed you didn't crash. Egad! And what do you mean, there was nowhere to pull over? Were you on I-95 or something? Ahahaha! You be careful, girl.

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  6. I've only been pulled over twice in my life. Both happened on the same day. It was Father's Day (around 1995) and I, an irresponsible college student, had overslept. I may have been out too late the night before (ahem). I was driving home to celebrate with my parents and I was so so late. What a day that was.

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    1. That's a great story, Kat. Thanks for telling us. I've only been pulled over twice, but 15 years apart.

      I've never heard of someone being pulled over twice in the same day. You MUST have gotten a ticket for that second offense!

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  7. I wasn't thinking about my WIP when I got this particular ticket. I didn't even have a WIP at the time. I was just lost. In my own town. (I know. Pitiful. My sense of direction has always been less than stellar.) Well, back then, my daughter was just a toddler, and I drove a bright red car that she always referred to as a race car. Well, when I'm lost, I tend to drive faster. (Makes no sense, but that's me.) So anyway, there I was, getting nowhere fast. Lights flash behind me. I pull over. Officer asks the usual "Do you know how fast you were driving?" At this point, I stammered a bit, buying time. I was hoping daughter would start fussing so I could claim she was upset, and that I was hurrying to find somewhere to pull over and tend to her. Well. She did not cry. Did not even whimper. What did she do? When he looked into the back seat, she looked right at him, threw her little hands up above her head, and shouted, "WHEEEE! RACECAR!" I accepted my ticket, and drove away. Still lost. But now getting nowhere much, much slower.

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    1. Oh, Kim! That's hilarious (sorry!). You should write that up for Reader's Digest. I love the image of your daughter with her hands in the air saying "WHEEE! RACECAR!"

      Still laughing... Thanks!

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  8. No not really. I was driving once with my boss and a few co-workers and I saw flashing lights behind me on the highway. Luckily itwas not me.

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    1. That WAS lucky, Natalie! Bet it gave you a scare, though.

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