March 2011 Review

Writing News

Carrying on from where I left off last month, I have to say that writing can be a very frustrating and equally surprising process. The reason is simple: How many times have you heard or read people who have written a book say, “Oh, the book just wrote itself,” or “The characters just took over the story.” Well, like I said last month, what that actually means is that once you start writing a story, even when you only have just a general idea of where it is going, the act of writing it causes you to flesh it out and develop it with the descriptions and settings that are required, leading to other characters and events you never had any idea you were going to write about. These additional characters and events create other possibilities. The result is that you end up with a multitude of additional choices as the writing progresses. Sometimes this effect can speed on the writing of a story as each possibility leads to another, or it can even change the story quite radically from what you originally planned as you suddenly see a different direction. On the other hand these new possibilities may just pose problems for exactly the same reason. The most obvious choice maybe just that, and so might better be avoided. And the story might not fare as well if you choose that new direction instead of the one you originally planned. Decisions have to be made.

Well “The Sullenfeld Oracle” has now gone beyond thirty thousand words and has reached a point where I must finally decide which characters are going where. I mentioned last month that I usually do this lengthy pondering in my head well before I write anything. Nowadays I have to do it while I write. And this is where the problems start, because I have to pause in my writing as I ponder at each crossroads wondering exactly where each choice will lead. This happened last Thursday as I reached a chapter and a scene in the story where I really do need to know who goes where.

The problem I have is with three female characters. My original plan focussed on just one of them. I knew where she was going and who she would have a relationship with, but now I have a feeling that this role might better fit the second character. And the way the third female character has come along I am now thinking about her role as well. So the problem is which woman goes where, and with whom do they have a relationship with and how does this effect the storyline for each of them and in general. I have spent all weekend thinking about this and have got no closer, and yet I have the scene where a decision needs to be implimented on the computer in front of me. Sooner or later I am going to have to make a choice and go with it.

Maybe tomorrow.

I forgot to mention that writing can also be rewarding. I look back at some of the stuff I have written and realise that I probably could never repeat that feat. And yet I look back at what I have only just written now and equally wonder where so much came from this time.

See you next month!

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