Dividing the Narrative works for me, even in a short story. Technically, a scene is a sort of complete story, so I tell myself if I write a solid scene, then I’m ahead of the game.

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It’s easy to latch on to big ideas and get excited about them because we’re wired to think about the end, the fruit of all the labor, the space beyond the question mark in “what if?”

We don’t usually like having to pull back from that heavenly vision of the full and blooming garden, to the space and time where we have to roll up our sleeves and shove our sweaty hands into the dirt. It’s not a character flaw, it’s just us reacting to the hope we carry—that maybe THIS TIME we’ll find the gold after we turn over the first shovel full of soil.

Nobody really wants to do all that digging. And if they say they do, I am immediately suspicious of them. We cannot play “trust fall” together. Keep your hands off my toys.

Every big thing is made up of the small stuff. That’s just an immutable law of the universe. And the better we are at “thinking small,” the bigger we get to build.

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I sympathize.

The way I've reconciled it for myself is to understand that the most complex and frightening idea still has to proceed step by step. The majestic totality appears out of the each piece or act. That's how I approach it, one piece at a time.

It's more a psychological fake-out, like "no way this single footstep can get me to the top of Everest". In matter of fact that's exactly how it happens. The mountain's still there and the journey happens, even though it doesn't feel like it hunkered down in the base camp.

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May I add my own way of coping with this? Abandoning certain things.

I've been working on a long, complex novel for two years. One of the two main characters has proven to be stubborn in letting her personality come forward. It has created lots of paralysis. I might just shift all the focus on the other character.

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