I’ve had to force myself to put together a strategy for getting back in the writing chair. Isn’t that sad? But not having one hasn’t panned out at all. It’s also yielded no results. I’ve got nothing to show for nothing; how’s that?
But I’m onto something now and I think it’s sort of cool.
Here’s the plan.
I’m hoping to get started re-reading my current story this weekend. I want to put the story back into my head, re-immerse myself into the story world and characters, and see how quickly that happens. Sometimes it can take a lot of effort to get back into the swing of a story, and if an author doesn’t take the time to do that, they end up with inconsistent characters and story.
So that’s step one: re-read the story, with a specific goal in mind.
The second step is to identify ideal places in the storyline where injection of little plants or micr0-scenes might offer a path toward getting this story back on track. When I have the setup the way I want it, then I can launch forward (which will, sadly, mean cutting out the last scene I wrote and possibly two) and start headlong toward the main conflict.
I abandoned the original setup for this story because it felt too cliched, too commonplace. It’s been done before. It’s expected. Instead, I’ve got something a little more interesting, and it would give some stiffening to the way the story is shaping up. It’s pretty cool, but I have to find the right places to do this or it’s not going to work.
The third step here is remove something I telegraphed earlier. And that’s actually going to be the trickiest part. I have to make sure the audience doesn’t know about this event too early, because I want it to be a major reveal for the viewpoint character. And my First Reader was all over it from the get-go. She’s a savvy reader, but I confirmed with her it was telegraphed. And the fix I have in mind will repair the damage and set things right, she agreed. So that’s the final step.
I lied. The final step is to get back to writing. I hope this will stimulate things internally enough to want to do that. Exhaustion, stress, and a long winter (seems long, anyway) full of car troubles and less-than-happy thoughts so far have all contributed to weariness and lack of desire. Oh, and Destiny too. Don’t forget that. 🙂
What about Writing into the Dark, though?
I don’t see this as “plotting” or “planning” in any way. The strategy I laid out above is what my creative mind has bubbling to the top to get this story’s legs under it again. I’m not setting out a series of plot points or pinch points or milestones or incidents. I’m not laying a map out, and I’m doggone sure not going to outline the rest of the story from here.
I will write into the dark. I will simply provide the things the story wants to be ready to go, from where it should be.
Wouldn’t an Outline have Saved You the Trouble?
Nope. I have a rough outline for this story. It’s different than the one I ended up having come off my fingertips for a few reasons.
First, I found the perfect opportunity to use Algis Budrys’s Seven-Point Plot model without actually, y’know, plotting anything. I created a character, in a setting, with a problem, knowing how the rest of the system must therefore shake out. The system works, and I know it works. But I first have to get those three things – character, setting, problem – right for my writerly mind to plow through.
Second, this story isn’t the same one I dreamed up years ago. (Yeah, years. *Sigh*) In fact, the characters turned out a lot different than I imagined they would then, and the tired, worn-out approach it might have taken turned out to offer a stronger, more sympathetic central character. One people can, I hope, root for as the story progresses. We’ll see, I suppose.
Finally, all outlining does is signal something in my writing brain which tells it the story’s finished, been done, written. And nothing will happen after that. I’ve done it too many times to fall for that again.
So anyway, that’s the plan, and we’ll find out whether it was worthwhile, because I start writing again, or just a waste of time and energy because nothing changed.
I’ll keep ya posted on that as things move along.