Monday, December 8, 2008

No title comes to mind

Outside my window, the sky darkens. Dusk comes, bringing before it a storm. Suits my mood. Not writing, not accomplishing much.

Stuck here with my questions and the answers I won't find. Sigh.

I don't know. I guess this public space isn't the right place for what I really want to say. I'm not even free to write my thoughts, don't even know for sure what they are.

There's a bit of longing. A bit of hunger. Wistfulness. Loneliness. Curiousity. Wanting just to be, to be together, to be a bit of a family, to connect.

Wondering how a writer writes a story, when it starts and when it stops, and what to do next with the plot arc.


Andrew Scott Turner said...

I've plotted and plodded at the same time, trying to fit the story in my head onto the page using a mental shoehorn.

It didn't work

Sage advice from my second-favorite writer: Stephen King. He doesn't plot. At all. Ever. He starts with the notion of an idea, a sense of a character or set of characters, and then he just starts writing. He throws them down onto the page as he sees them "acting about" in his head.

Seriously. It works. Well, for me. I never know what I'm going to write in the morning. The novel has grown out of pure exciting on-the-fly creationism.

Tip #2 (but probably more important than the no-plot technique): don't worry about where to begin or end or the geometry of the story (see:arc). While in creation mode, JUST CREATE. Even if the words are .."and then Sally says something here profound, not sure what, but it startles Kevin so much that he leaves in disgust."

I'm utterly serious. It's LATER that you figure out where the story will begin, after you've taken the chain saw to it. It's LATER that you figure out how the thing ends.

Tip #3: The finished story is never ever what it is in your head. You think it'll be a dark comedy and it turns out to be a romance. You think it's the next As I Lay Dying and it ends up being The Notebook.

I have a stack of 360 pages of the novel on the corner of my desk. If I started thinking about the main character's arc now, it would be in the waste basket.

That's the joy of it. That's the pure, simple delight. The act of just lolling through the story as it comes to you, quite literally.

Okay, this last tip:

BEST BOOK FOR WRITERS EVER: "The Courage to Write" by Ralph Keyes.

Buy it if you don't have it already

I get the sense you have stuff buried and want it OUT. (That's the inner voice of a serious writer, so listen to it)

Begin - writing, yoga, and more said...

Thank you, Andrew, for your wonderful advice. I appreciate the time you spent to offer support and hard-won wisdom.

Wishing you much "pure, simple delight" in lolling through your writing today -