I was so engrossed in something else that I completely lost track of time. It's almost ten, and I'm just starting this post. Yikes!
If I could say I'd been writing, losing track of time would be a good thing. Unfortunately, that's not the case. I was researching.
But you know what?
Researching can lead us into the most interesting territory. Detours, winding lanes, straight shots on the interstate, and whole neighborhoods filled with a different family in each house.
The things we learn when we take time to research can completely alter our thoughts. Not only in writing, but in our lives as well. But this is a writing post, so I'll stick to that.
Even if you don't plot ahead, you have a tiny glimmer of what's going to happen next. And even if you do plot, sometimes what's supposed to happen next doesn't. This is one of the things I love about writing.
But I digress.
For example ... you're researching ducks. The reason? Your protagonist is a wildlife biologist on vacation. She's hiking and comes upon a clearing with a pond. In the pond are two ducks.
Questions arise. She WILL know what kind of ducks these are and whether they are male, female, or one of each. So you look up different kinds of ducks that will be in her location at the right time of year.
None. Or none that look good enough to you to waste words describing. Maybe she doesn't see ducks. Or even a pond. Maybe she sees a mama bear with cubs. Danger! Yeah, that can work.
Oh. Brown bear or black bear? You're off again.
What's mama bear doing? Eating, resting, scratching her back? What do bears eat, anyway?
She needs to take a photo. Need to look up cameras.
When you're squirming in your chair because you need a little break, more than an hour has gone by and you've written ten words.
That you now need to delete.
Because you decided the protagonist needs to stay in town so the antagonist can photograph her from his truck a block away with his long lens zoom camera.
What are those things really called, anyway?