A lot of my mental creative space has been taken up with tons of decision making lately. It's easy to see how this happens with real life events, but something I didn't really take into account is how this happens in fiction, too.
In real life, I realized I was pregnant this fall, which triggered a thousand decision dominoes. About the only straightforward decision was who to see for maternity care, since the doc who delivered the last child hadn't left the country or retired. From there on, it was decisions all day long. Even diapers aren't simple anymore. Everything had to be investigated, considered, and decided.
In creating a work of fiction, I have a similar array of choices to weigh and make. Mad Stone is short, but I still had so many things to decide. Even once the logistics of the plot were nailed down, there were character-based decisions that dictated who was present where and when, the order of events, whose goals were driving each scene.
I think it's a lot easier when you have fewer choices, or aren't aware of them. But once you become aware of the array of choices you have for each scene, each act, each story, you have to think through the consequences and choose the one that best fits what you're trying to accomplish, what reflects the theme and tone of the story, what is consistent with the world and characters, what is most effective.
I keep wondering why writing doesn't get easier the older and more experienced I get. I think Mad Stone is somewhere around my 30th work, and one of the "benefits" of all that experience is that I'm very, very aware of the array of choices I have and the tools at my disposal.
Writing with blinders on, when I saw fewer possibilities and choices, was probably a lot faster. The flip side of this is that experience lets me identify problems and see solutions much, much faster than it did in the blinder days when I once set a book aside for several years because I couldn't see the solution.
Decision making takes creative energy and space, but having a lot of choices at our disposal means that we can create something better and richer in the end. I will tell myself that while I get frustrated with how long it's taking me to write this chapter because I have to decide whose scene it is and if changing a planned order of events will give it more impact.