I love a restless night, I really do, especially when there is nothing to write (as such), but plenty to think about – Writing is made up of ideas and words – If the words are flowing, no doubt about it, you have to get at that keyboard and capture them because if you have a handful of those wonderful things, you likely have the entire flock waiting around the corner and you want every last one of them – but the ideas the words rest against are equally important.
Ideas, of course, are both detailed and structural. Detailed ideas are more along the lines of who says what and why, but the structural ideas are the backbone of your plot and very fabric of your story’s universe.
The structure is less about words. It’s the plan of action that dictates the direction your story is going and the backdrop (worldview) your story is told against. It is the factory floor where compartments and even characters are manufactured, the lab where chemistry is mixed, and the drawing board where problems are sorted out.
The coming together of structural ideas, detailed ideas and those beautiful, fleeting creatures that are words is where progress on paper is made and where the writer can begin to see the end result.
I love restless nights when it’s structural ideas that are talking to me. Structural ideas don’t float away and escape the way beautiful words do. That means I don’t have to get up and sit at my desk. Don’t get me wrong, sitting at my desk is great in the middle of the night, but it adds complication of the feline variety which I’d prefer not to tackle unless those words are too precious to lose (in which case, I surrender, the cat wins to go out, wins to come back in again, wins to be fed, wins to go back out again – it’s that kind of relationship).