I like plots. A lot. And in general I enjoy writing plots. I like creating characters, winding them up, then watching them act out stories. I enjoy treating events like open ended puzzle pieces that I can then mix and match in order to create a larger picture. So whenever I write something in which basically nothing happens it’s always a scary time for me.
There is no way to know what people are going to make of it when your story takes place completely internally. When I, say, take one character and have him inject another character with deadly poison in front of your eyes, I know that this is going to come across in some way or another. At the very least you’ll see the physical motion, you might not be entirely with me as far as what’s going on inside of these characters, but you’ll get something.
If you take away the deadly poison, though, things become very tricky. Then it’s just two characters standing there. And as a writer you have no footing that you can be sure of. For all you know (and all the little voice inside your head tells you) everyone who reads what you’ve written is going to do nothing but ask why you thought watching a guy make muffins then watching that same guy try to sleep was a good idea for a story. Because in “You’re Allowed to Order Take-Out” that’s all that happens, really, as far as the stuff taking place right in front of you. They mess up muffins, they have trouble sleeping. The end.
But people were more than happy to linger with Neil in a way I never expected and it was touching for me how many of you found it touching yourselves to watch this overwhelmed father struggling with how his new daughter fit into his life while worrying about how he would fit into hers.
So the number nine spot goes to Neil as he drifted off into what I can only hope turned out to be a mouse-free sleep:
And he wondered what time it was, and wondered who else was awake, and wondered what kept the world going at this hour, and wondered if the bagel store down the street made good coffee, and wondered that his new daughter would someday be able to talk to him like Illiam and he wondered if she knew he was here worrying about her in the middle of the night. He lay down on the couch so his head was near the crib and rested a hand on one of the wooden slats, the physical nearness of her a comfort to him, and in a few minutes he fell asleep, his body relaxing deeper and deeper as the rain softly pelted the windows.