Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Write, write, write...and write some more

A friend has talked about writing a historical novel for as long as I've known him. He said he doesn't want to start writing it until he knows exactly what he wants it to be, as if the first draft will be the final draft. I have said many times, "Just start writing scenes, the ones you know. You can figure out what to do with them later." But he wouldn't. Or maybe he couldn't. Maybe he was afraid. Are writers really afraid???

Am I afraid to write my novels? Or is it something else? What could that something else be? Well, I'm thinking it COULD be that I don't know the whole story when I start writing. So I get to a certain place in the writing of a novel and, in a panic, I think, "Oh, no! I don't know where this story is supposed to go!"

This was a real issue for me for a long time. Then I read Stephen King's book, On Writing, where he talks about The Stand. He had written a lot of it when he got to the point that he just didn't know what to do with it, where it was going. He said he nearly trashed the whole thing. Then one day it hit him where it needed to go and he finished writing it.

I will tell you that I read the unabridged version of The Stand. I knew exactly where he started foundering and wandering in circles trying to pick up the thread to continue with the story. I had a really hard time reading that book! It took me a few weeks here, a few weeks there, to actually completely read it. Over a period of a year! I would read a while, then set it aside and go read some other things. Then go back and read some more. I have NEVER read a book that way before or since. But it surely gave me some insight into writing my own stories.

So, maybe J is correct and he needs to know the whole story before he starts to write. But sometimes the story comes through the writing. You have to start somewhere, even if the place you start ends up not being the starting point of your story.

What are you writing today?

(c) 2014 Cathy Thomas Brownfield ~ All Rights Reserved.

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