Saturday, November 24, 2012

Building blocks

I may not have a lot of pretty words down on the page, but I've been writing bits and pieces of this new story.

Imagine a set of building blocks: chunky red ones, long and thin blue ones, squarish green that fills the palm of your hand, rectangular sunny yellow, round orange cylinders that roll around unless you prop them on end. I'm writing out the building blocks as they come to me. I haven't figured out what I'm going to build quite yet, but I like the way two of these and one of those look together. This is how my new story is taking shape.

I'm not far enough into the story to get a feel for the depth, but I've hit a few scenes that tell me a lot about the characters and their journey.

Oh yeah: did I mention the fantasy element? Yes indeed, I said fantasy. Light, urban fantasy, I suppose. There's a ghost in my story.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I'm not a plotter

It took three attempts, but I think I may have finally found my way into this story. I only have one page (388 words) but I wrote about 1200 words to get there. Yeesh! 

This is what happens to writers like me who kill their interest in stories if they plot first. I have to feel my way into a story, and then once I get a feel for it, I can rough out the story elements. I can't do it the other way around. For me, short stories are easy. The story arc is easily conceived, and I can spend a fair amount of time on word choice and sharpening the main conflict. Novels give me so much more room to run around that I feel like I have too many choices. Without exploring my characters first, and listening to them as they take shape on the page, I don't know what story they want to tell. 

I started this story once before, but needed to take a different approach. As with all of my writing, I walk a fine line between detachment for the fiction element and the introspection necessary to draw from the element of truth. My previous attempt was lacking a strong enough voice in the lead character. She was too soft. As a reader, I lose interest in soft characters. As a writer, I can't get anything out of them.

I feel like I'm getting back on a bicycle after not having ridden in far too long. Today, I remembered how to work the pedals and get moving. I'm enjoying the ride and taking in the scenery. Pretty soon, though, I'll have to figure out how to steer.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Begin Anywhere

Step One:
Delete old blog posts.

Step Two:
Begin anywhere.

I've got this.