My last writing post was about my foray into the realm of children’s writing. I’m currently riding a burst of energy in my fiction writing. For adults, I mean. And no, this has nothing to do with NaNoWriMo.
I never, ever, ever, not once thought I would attempt to write fiction. Never. Funny thing happened the more that I read it though. The more I read the more a couple characters started prancing around my mind. Pretty soon they had moved from prancing to parading like they owned the place. Shortly thereafter I was typing words on a page in the desperate hope of getting them to calm the heck down. And they did. For a bit.
I now am the disgruntled owner of the “writer” bug. This has manifested itself in efforts in freelance writing, fiction, short stories, my longer piece, children’s writing, essays on Christian thought, and assorted blog posts. And I love it. Some days I feel inspired to write for children; some days I feel inspired to grapple with theological truth that’s eating at me; some days I just want to start and finish something for a feeling of accomplishment (TGFBP – Thank God for Blog Posts – just rolls of the tongue doesn’t it?).
So, I’m currently in my fiction/long book project mode. I’ve been reading Matthew Thomas’s debut novel, We Are Not Ourselves, and the writing and story have triggered ideas for my own use. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that my writing is directly linked to the amount of reading I’m doing at any given time. If I’m not reading, my writing dries up. If I’m reading something, ideas shoot off constantly (not all good ideas, but at least they’re firing).
I’ve been reading. And in the course of two days I’ve edited several peripheral scenes, been exposed to the prankster side of my protagonist, axed at least one character, re-imagined two other characters forcing me to re-imagine their relationships within the community, and developed a few more residents of the neighborhood. I also have uncovered so many questions that my Google dashboard is going to give me a good ol’ eighties-movie-quality screen fritz and spark in a minute.
All from a story that HAS NO CENTRAL CONFLICT! NO STORY ARC!
These missing pieces infuriate me. There’s no way to say what you’re writing about – unless you want to discuss abstract ideas and values – when the most you’ve got are trims and borders, a few dandy characters, and a wandering protagonist.
It’s not looking good that this current explosion of writing fever is going to reveal the crux of the story either. That means I’ll eventually phase out of this productivity. The characters will once again calm down and fade into the recesses of my mind. I’ll turn to one or several other projects and have to wait for the next gust of wind (or book I read) to blow up some drama.
Other than a stiff drink, how do you writers out there cope with obscured information? How do you tease out details (or, you know, the one big internal/external driving force that makes an anecdote more than a story) that keep bumping into your writing and reminding you to “Mind the gap”? Any strategies from NaNoWriMo writers who whip up this stuff in a month?
Well, there, see now, I finished a blog post. Huzzah! Time to gape at fragments of story waiting for my “That’s it!” moment to reveal itself.