When my brother and I were younger, we made up something called The Dark Game. When we had sleepovers with friends, we’d shut off all the lights in the basement. Everybody would hide while the seeker counted upstairs. When we were done hiding, the seeker would stumble down into the pitch black and grope and feel and listen for the hiders. Sometimes, for fun, we’d chuck pillows at the seeker. Or, if we were feeling reckless, we’d dart from one spot to another, discombobulating the seeker by making weird noises. If you got caught, you’d have to sit on the couch and stay there for the rest of the game, unless another brave hider decided to sneak over and free you. Our friends loved the dark game.
Sometimes, when I’m writing, I feel like I’m playing the dark game all over again. I feel like I’m groping in the dark, trying to find my characters, my scenes, my stories. And they’re darting around, chucking hints in my direction, but always out of reach.
My husband asked me yesterday if I ever stop thinking about my story. He asked this after I started talking to him about Bethany… again. I will be the first to admit that my stories consume me. But in my defense, they are nearly impossible to put away when the plot keeps growing and changing. Plotting out a story is such a frustratingly invigorating time. Invigorating because there are times a few of the players come into view, and I know I’m that much closer to reaching my goal. Frustrating because just when I think I’ve pinned down a scene, an idea sneaks up and frees it from the couch, and I have to start back at square one. I keep waiting for somebody to turn on the lights. The game would be so much easier. But then, what’s the fun in that?
Question to ponder: For nostalgia’s sake, what fun games did you make up as a child?