If you read my last post, you’ll know that I was having trouble finding the correct beginning to my latest novel. It has been challenging, to say the least. But, as Stephen King says when asked how he writes, “I just out one word after another.” With this advice in mind, I kept going. I still don’t know if I’ve found the right beginning, but I realise that I might not know that until I get to the end. Another insight from Stephen King is that he writes first drafts very quickly and then spends a lot of time shaping and editing. We don’t write in the same genre – his books are too scary for me to read – but he is a master craftsman, and so I am trotting along.
So, keep writing, I said to myself. See what happens, I added, trying to sound more confident than I felt. There are plotters and there are pansters – those who start writing and see where they get to. I’m usually the latter, but this book was plotted out from beginning to end. I even thought I had the last line written.
Not so. This week I have discovered that not only can I not find the beginning, but the outline I had is but a sub plot. Another, more interesting, and certainly more pressing, theme has emerged and needs to be addressed.
There were moments there when I thought, “No. I’m in charge here. You characters are made up, you only exist in my head, and you will do what I say.” Those moments were short. The twist that one of the characters threw at me is intriguing and will make a great story if I handle it well – or leave my characters to lead the way.
It’s a trust issue. Like that exercise where you close your eyes and fall back into the waiting arms of your friends, I now have to keep writing and trust fictitious people to take their story and run with it. My fingers will be on the keypad, but their ideas will guide the outcome.
Wish me luck – I might fall!