Zachary’s backpack


Over the past couple of days, I’ve been obsessing over details in my book. One of the more prominent ones was the issue of Zachary having a backpack.

In my first chapter, we learn he’s got a backpack all ready to go, stashed near a far fence on the property, so that he can run away at the first chance he gets. For one thing, I never really said what was INSIDE the backpack. What would he need to bring with him, without a doubt? What could be pack and leave sitting for awhile– what is a necessity, but one that can be packed up and left in a place where someone might discover it, or where it might need to remain untouched for months? No idea. So that was the first thing I spent a ton of time thinking about.

But then an even more basic issue became clear: Why would he even have a backpack in the first place? It’s not like he goes to school, or goes camping or something. He’s trapped at the Complex, and can never leave. I can’t imagine the powers-that-be deciding to just give him a backpack one day. “Here ya go! Now just use this for walking around the Complex property, OK? But no thinking of using it to run away or something, ha ha ha!”

These are the kind of things that can drive me nuts.

I will start going back through chapters, looking for similar details that might not make sense. I first try to justify it, find a reason to keep it. “Well, he’d have one to keep all his art-stuff in, so he can easily haul everything downstairs if he wanted to draw outside, or in another building.” In that case, maybe that could be true, but it’s more likely he’d just have a plain old tote bag.

Then I try to figure out another way he’d happen upon a backpack: Maybe he stole it from someone. He could have done that. But then, that opens up a new characteristic: Is he the kind of person who steals stuff? What else has he stole? Where does he hide stuff he steals? Nah. It’s not quite right. I’m OK if he isn’t perfect, of course, and in fact, I want to give him unlikeable qualities here and there to make him more real, but this one doesn’t really fit.

Anyway, I’m in the process of freaking out about details right now and I need to step away and let it be, again. It’s great I’m working on it again, yeah. But I get stuck on things like this too easily sometimes. (One time I spent awhile worrying if the house would have curtains or not. Yeah, curtains. Who cares, right?!)

I will never finish this book if I keep doing this kind of thing. I have to take my own advice and Just Write, Don’t Think. Get the story out and STFU.

I just need to go get lunch and read a book and forget about it. I love my book, love thinking about it, but sometimes I do have to laugh at how ridiculous I can get about it. It’s a backpack.

Delete it. Done.


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