New Style

I have written everything by finding characters, living with them for awhile, and then creating structure for them; finding out what the themes are, building a wire frame, and then letting my characters run around in that structure. Conflicts and plot, yes, but also the world themes around them. So I know, roughly, which closet holds the demons.  Usually, these demons are ones I’ve learned well in my life and the lives of those around me.

My current novel-in-progress arrived out of a writing exercise in which I was a character. It is a story arising out of who I am and what I’m dealing with in the moment, and that’s not something I do, usually. That’s what my blog is for…

This story’s not wish fulfillment, but rather my subconscious telling stories.

That’s meant two things for me. 1) I have no idea what’s happening next or where the closets with the demons are and 2) I have more resistance.

So somewhere in the middle of the book I started jumping from plot point to plot point, just to … move forward. Leapfrog over resistance that was getting me.

Now, my main character is great at disassociation in a crisis, so she hasn’t been spilling the beans the whole time on how she’s doing. There’s a lot of, well, leapfrogging from plot point to plot point, where she’d like to pretend none of it bugs her much at all, really, she’ll just walk it off, it’s fine. What were YOU saying?

Right now, where she is is in another such walk it off scenario. She keeps running throughout this book, and she wants to run right out of the book, never to return, and I won’t let her. Much ‘don’t wanna’ ensues.

What’s cool, though, is that this morning I got notes about a chapter halfway back in time. One that noted my character was missing.

But going back to find my character there – all the things we hadn’t discussed – was really FUN. I’m finding it’s easier to hear her voice now that I’m not also right in it. Plus, there’s an “of course!” realization that you get when reading a book and find something you recognize in it - only what I’m having that moment of connection with is something I couldn’t see completely the first time through.

Recursive storytelling!

NO, no. More like resolving the side of a fractal, and seeing the big picture reflected in what, far back, looked like something drawn with very few lines.


  1. It takes a lot of faith to write this way – and it must be particularly difficult to write a repressive character, who wants to gloss over the conflicts. Faith is how I think of it anyway, faith that if I just keep going, making a bigger and bigger hash of things, at some point my brain will find the silver thread through the labyrinth, and I’ll be able to turn it into a coherent whole.

  2. Weirdly, this is the only way I’ve ever managed to write anything. I have a bunch of posts on my blog about this, which I suppose I should tag so that I can tell people where to look.

  3. I don’t think it’s that weird, ACW! In fact, I’d say most of the writers I know do some version or another of discovering and rediscovering.

    And I’ve done it too, in some way – never headlong into a book without any clue where it’s going, but I have done so in chapters, or in short stories.

Trackbacks / Pings

  1. Trackback URl →

Leave a Reply