Can’t remember where I heard this acronym but it stands for Butt In The Chair, Hands On Keyboard.
I like to remind myself that writing is a pleasure, not a chore. I always greet my chair as if a good friend. “Hello writing chair. Is this a good time? I have some great ideas that I would like to run past you.” I try to anticipate my needs for the next two hours. Use the bathroom, get a fresh cup of coffee, close the door to distractions or put on some mood-appropriate music. Quickly decide on the area of your book that you want to develop and just let it flow. Don’t look back, don’t get up. Write whatever comes to mind. You can edit later. Don’t even worry about spelling.
Let me give you an example.
Scene that I need to develop: Eddie and Gwin are about to get arrested and they both tell very different stories to the cops during their interrogation. The
corrections and (parentheses) represent edits that would have to be done at a later sitting.
They busted in the front door screaming for us to lie on the ground. I had my hands in the air,
my eyes as wide as and round as doughnuts. Police in bulletproof vests just kept coming in the front door screaming and pointing guns at us. We were thrown to the ground and held down while another officer cuffed us. We were read our rights and brought to the station in separate cop cars. (Elaborate more leading up to interrogation room) I was left in a hot room with a mirrored wall. No doubt a two-way mirror.
My name is Eddie Apollo and my wife is Gwin. (consider another name for main character) I knew this day was coming. Gwin was officially and completely, out of control. It’s just the two of us now. Our two daughters are grown and off on their own.
Oh God, what will the kids think? When she first retired, she would fill her time volunteering at various animal shelters. Bless her heart. She was always trying to help someone. I think she just got bored. I’m retired now too and spend too much time in the garage grinding chess pieces out of (add a specific type of wood) wood. Retirement snuck up on us. My fingers were starting to stiffen up and repairing big rigs was a younger man’s job. Gwin had spent the last twelve years as a research assistant analyst for an aggressive legal firm. She was good excellent at her job. She was so curious. God forbid you share a story that isn’t grounded in truth, because she will Google that shit research it until she is the expert. When the firm moved 40 miles south to accommodate a new partner, the drive became a pain in the ass. Two months later, when Gwin turned 60, she decided to retire. At first we did a good job entertaining one another.
“Mr. Apollo, or can I call you Eddie?” Eddie leaned forward setting his elbows on the table and folding his fingers together as if praying. “You can call me Eddie.” Officer Ferguson was a tall, solid man with dark hair cropped tight to his head. He wasn’t dressed like the other cops. He didn’t have the big belt with all the gadgets, no gun,
no mace, not even a walkie-talkie. He responded in a monotone voice. “We are going to tape this session to make sure we get everything.” Eddie responded with a silent head nod. “Is there anything you want to tell me before I start asking the questions?” Eddie’s head dropped and he was silent except for the tapping of his foot on the floor. When he lifted his head to meet the gaze of officer Ferguson, he had sad, water filled eyes. His cheeks sagged with sorrow.
“She’s a good woman. I mean a really good woman.”
* * *
Gwin’s interrogation was simultaneously taking place two rooms over. However, Gwin’s story was quite different. “He was always in the garage listening to that CB Radio. He would monitor the police, fire, EMS, you name it, and he monitored it. He said he was carving chess pieces but I know what he was doing out there.” Officer Reffico was a tall, well-built
Hispanic man with big arms and a bald head. His deep voice and muscular stature usually intimidated. Gwin seemed immune to his size and more interested in the other officer. Officer Reffico would ask the questions, but Gwin would often direct her answers to the cop female officer in the corner.
Officer Anderson was a small, but very fit, blond woman. She sat quietly in the corner of the room. She was dressed in police blues and had her hair tied tightly in a ponytail. It was the station’s protocol to have a woman in the interrogation room whenever they were questioning a female. Reffico continued. “Exactly what was he doing in the garage Mrs. Apollo?” Gwin leaned in and spoke loud and clear almost eager to make sure her damning story was heard. “Well, you know, he followed crime stuff.” Her vague answer had the two officers exchanging that look cops give each other when they’re not buying what someone is selling. She continued, struggling at first. Once she got rolling, it was hard to interrupt her. “Well, for starters, he’s a womanizer.” She looked at Officer Reffico and then tipped her head at Officer Anderson. “He would have liked you.” Anderson straightened up but remained quiet. Officer Reffico tried to keep Gwin on track. “Ma’am, can we get back to the garage? Exactly what do you think he was up to in the garage?”
The goal with this exercise is to start writing. Don’t worry about the details. Get the fingers typing, get your head into your story … develop your characters. Developing a scene exposes issues and challenges. Your character may figure out something that only a trained doctor or engineer would know. You may have to go back into the storyline to give your character this knowledge or experience to keep the integrity of your story. If you find yourself getting frustrated, get up for a cup of coffee … a stretch … a shower. I like to take a walk with my finger on the record button. Every time I get an idea, I press record. Later I listen and write down the good ideas and laugh at the bad ones. Even if every idea is bad, at least you took a healthy walk.
If you get real frustrated, it’s OK to BITCH . . . or should I say BITCH OK