Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This is the Way We Go

The way I've been writing lately is to allow the story to lead itself along. I like the idea of exploring a story scene-by-scene. Letting it develop and come into view by the actions of the characters. But being a Capricorn, I have an inborn need to see the path ahead of me.

Earlier this week, my goat nature took over. I was writing a scene where the characters are escaping a situation and I realized that I had no idea where they were going. I hadn't lost track of where the story was leading, just the actual annoying details like setting and plot.

Some writers skip scenes when this happens, moving on to a later point in the plot that is clear to them. This is something I'm not equipped to do. I felt my note taking instinct take hold. It was time to clear the path a little. Get straight in my head which character knew what and when. Work backwards a little to figure out how my cast was going to move from Point A to Point B.

Twenty hours later...they were back on course. Another puzzle solved.


  1. Thats fascinating Brian - I suspect the characters know where they are going and are waiting for you to catch up!

  2. Yes, I think you are exactly right. Sometimes I think the characters shake their heads at us authors and think, "What a complete ass, he is." :)

  3. I'm just reminded of Raymond Queneau's novel "The Flight of Icarus" which is about a character who escapes the manuscript he's in. It's very funny.

  4. Thanks for sharing this. It really helps as I am still trying to figure out what I want my story to actually be and where it should go. I'm filled with ideas, but I wonder is there really a point? Then I question is there even a plot? And the cycle continues. But knowing how writers work through these obstacles helps me sort out mine.

  5. I find there's a time to plow ahead and a time to step back and give a good think over the problems that inevitably pop up in a manuscript. As far as moments of doubt go, I have yet to figure out a way of avoiding those.

    Good luck.